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Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine
Sumy State University
G. V. Chulanova
Study guide
Recommended by the Academic Council of Sumy State University
Sumy State University
УДК 811.111’373(076)
ББК 81.432.1-3
Yu. Zatznyu – Doctor of Philology, Professor, Head of Department of Theory and
Practice of Translation in Zaporizhzhya National University;
S. Baranova – Associate Professor of Department of Theory and Practice of
Translation, Ph. D. in Philological Sciences of Sumy State University;
N. Ishchenko – Doctor of Philology, Professor, Head of Department of Theory,
Practice and Translation of English in National Technical University of Ukraine
"Kyiv Polytechnic Institute"
Recommended for publication by the Academic Council of Sumy State University
as a study guide
(the Minutes № 8 of 19.02.2015)
Chulanova G. V.
Lexicology in theory, practice and tests : study guide
G. V. Chulanova. – Sumy : Sumy State University, 2015. – 241 p.
ISBN 978-966-657-550-3
The study guide is focused on developing skills of analyzing of specific language
material and adequate interpretation of linguistic facts and phenomena. Its goal is to help
students learn the basics of English lexicology, make them acquaint with the most important
features of structural and semantic construction of English. The given exercises and tests are
intended to enrich the active vocabulary of students, to deepen understanding of linguistic
phenomena, to encourage their individual study.
The material will be of use for the second-year students with a specialization in
"Translation" and to all readers who would like to get some information about the vocabulary
of the modern English language, the changes that took place in English lexicology during the
period of its historical development.
Навчальний посібник орієнтований на розвиток навичок аналізу конкретного
мовного матеріалу та адекватної інтерпретації мовних фактів і явищ. Його мета –
допомогти студентам оволодіти основами англійської лексикології, ознайомити їх із
найважливішими особливостями структурно-семантичної побудови англійської мови.
Запропоновані завдання, вправи та тести спрямовані на те, щоб збільшити активний
вокабуляр студентів, поглибити розуміння мовних явищ, заохотити їх до самостійного
Посібник буде корисний студентам другого курсу спеціальності «Переклад» і
читачам, які цікавляться словниковим ресурсом сучасної англійської мови та змінами,
що відбулися в англійській лексикології за період історичного розвитку. Матеріал
викладено англійською мовою.
УДК 811.111’373(076)
ББК 81.432.1-3
© Chulanova G. V., 2015
© Sumy State University, 2015
ISBN 978-966-657-550-3
INTRODUCTION ……………………………………..
The Connection of Lexicology with other Branches of
Morphological Structure of English Words …………….
Main Structural Types of Words ………………………..
Compounding (Composition)…………………………….
Sound and Stress Interchange……………………………
Sound Imitation (Onomatopoeia)………………………...
Phrasal Verbs……………………………………………..
Classification of Borrowings……………………………..
International Words………………………………………
Pseudo-International Words……………………………...
Etymological Doublets…………………………………...
PART 5. SEMASIOLOGY……………………………..
Change of Meaning………………………………………
Linguistic Metaphor ……………………………………..
Linguistic Metonymy ……………………………………
Broadening and Narrowing of Meaning…………………
Elevation and Degradation……………………………….
Hyperbole and Litote……………………………………..
Semantic Groups of Words……………………………….
Types of Semantic Components………………………….
Types of Connotations……………………………………
The Dominant Synonym………………………………….
Types of Synonyms………………………………………
Sources of Synonymy ……………………………………
Euphemisms ……………………………………………...
Homonyms ……………………………………………….
Sources of Homonyms……………………………………
Paronyms ………………………………………………...
Antonyms ………………………………………………..
Functional Semantic Classes …………………………….
Qualifiers (Degree Modifiers)……………………………
Responsives (interjections)……………………………….
Ways of Forming Phraseological Units…………………..
Semantic Classification of Phraseological Units………...
Classification of Phraseological Units Based on the
Structural Principle……………………………………….
Syntactical Classification of Phraseological Units……….
Grammatical Structure of Proverbs………………………
ENGLISH WORDS……………………………………..
Literary-Bookish Words………………………………….
Colloquial Words…………………………………………
BASIC LITERATURE………………………………….
“Lexicology in theory, practice and tests” is an attempt
to supply students with a theoretical and practical appendix to
the lecture and seminar course of lexicology studies. The
purpose of this book is to aid the teaching process by which a
student becomes aware of English Lexicology. The book is
intended to acquaint students with the main topics treated and
analyzed at seminars in Modern Lexicology (etymology,
neology, borrowings, word-formation, semasiology, semantic
changes, phraseology, etc.) and meets the requirements of the
programme in this subject. The aim of the course is to teach
students to be word-conscious, to be able to guess the meaning
of words they come across from the meanings of morphemes,
to be able to recognise the origin of this or that lexical unit.
The book is in 8 parts. It includes 8 theoretical chapters,
practical assignments for seminars and independent work and
twelve tests. There is also a brief list of recommended
The practical assignments are preceded by theoretical
notes which contain working definitions of principal concepts.
The authors lay stress on the practical aspect of lexicology
studies. In most cases, the practical assignments present
English words in natural contexts of British and American
literature of the 20th - 21st centuries. The material of the book
may also be used in teaching a course of the Theory and
Practice of Translation.
This book does not try to cover everything. The author
will be much obliged for any criticism.
Lexicology is the branch of linguistics, it is the study of
words. The term lexicology is composed of two Greek
morphemes: lexis meaning “word, phrase” and logos which
denotes “learning, a department of knowledge”. Thus, the
literal meaning of the term lexicology is “the science of the
word”. Lexicology, its basic task being a study and systematic
description of vocabulary in reference to its origin,
development and current use, has its own aims and methods of
scientific research. It deals with words, morphemes which
make up words, variable word-groups and phraseological
units. The term vocabulary is used to denote the system of
words and word-groups that the language possesses.
The term word denotes the basic unit of a certain
language resulting from the association of a particular meaning
with a particular group of sounds capable of a particular
grammatical employment. Consequently a word is a semantic,
grammatical and phonological unit at the same time. It is the
smallest unit of a language which can stand alone as a
complete utterance. The term word-group denotes a group of
words which exists in the language as a ready-made unit, has
the unity of meaning and of syntactical function, e. g. the
word-group as loose as a goose means “clumsy” and is used in
a sentence: He is as loose as a goose - as a predicative.
The general study of words and vocabulary, without
taking into account the specific features of any particular
language, is known as general lexicology. Special lexicology is
the lexicology of a particular language (e. g. English, German,
Ukrainian, etc.), i. e. the study and description of its
vocabulary and vocabulary units. Every special lexicology is
based on the principles of general lexicology.
There are two principal approaches in linguistic science
to the study of language material, namely the synchronic (Gr.
Syn – “together, with” and chronos – “time”) and the
diachronic (Gr. dia – “through”) approach. The synchronic
approach is concerned with the vocabulary of a language as it
exists at a given time, for example, at the present time. It is
special desсriptive lexicology that deals with the vocabulary
and vocabulary units of a particular language at a certain time.
It studies the functions of words and their specific structure as
a characteristic inherent in the system.
The diachronic approach in terms of special lexicology
deals with the changes and the development of vocabulary as
the time goes by. It is special historical lexicology or
etymology that deals with the evolution of the vocabulary units
of a language in the course of time. This branch of linguistics
discusses the origin of various words, their change and
Lexicology also studies all kinds of semantic groups and
semantic relations: synonymy, antonymy, hyponymy, semantic
fields, etc.
The theoretical value of lexicology becomes apparent if
we take into account that it forms the study of one of the three
main aspects of language, i. e. its vocabulary (the other two
being its grammar and sound system).
Lexicology came into being to meet the demands of
many different branches of applied linguistics, namely of
lexicography, information retrieval, standardisation of
terminology, literary criticism and especially of foreign
language teaching. It helps to stimulate a systematic approach
to the facts of vocabulary and an organised comparison of the
native and foreign languages.
The Connection of Lexicology with Other Branches
of Linguistics
The treatment of words in lexicology cannot be
separated from the study of all the other elements in the
language system to which words belong. The word is studied in
several branches of linguistics and not in lexicology only, and
the latter is closely connected with general linguistics, the
history of the language, phonetics, stylistics, grammar and such
new branches of our science as sociolinguistics, paralinguistics
(the study of non-verbal means of communication (gestures,
facial expressions, eye-contact, etc.), pragmalinguistics (the
branch of linguistics concerned with the relation of speech and
its users and the influence of speech upon listeners) and some
The importance of the connection between lexicology
and phonetics can be explained if we take into account that a
word is an association of a given group of sounds with a given
meaning, so that top is one word, and tip is another. Wordunity is conditioned by a number of phonological features.
Phonemes follow each other in a fixed sequence so that pit is
different from tip.
There is also a close relationship between lexicology
and stylistics or, more specifically, linguo-stylistics. Linguostylistics deals with the study of the nature, functions and
structure of stylistic devices, on the one hand, and with the
investigation of each style of language, on the other.
A close connection between lexicology and grammar is
conditioned by the manifold ties between the objects of their
study. Grammar is the study of the grammatical structure of
language. It deals with the various means of expressing
grammatical relations between words and with the patterns
after which words are combined into word-groups and
sentences. Even isolated words as presented in a dictionary
bear a definite relation to the grammatical system of the
language because they belong to some part of speech and
conform to some lexico-grammatical characteristics of the
word class to which they belong. Words seldom occur in
isolation. They are arranged in certain patterns conveying the
relations between the things they denote, consequently in
addition to their lexical meaning they also possess some
grammatical meaning.
The two kinds of meaning are often interrelated. That is
to say, certain grammatical functions and meanings are
possible only for the words whose lexical meaning makes them
fit for these functions, and, on the other hand, some lexical
meanings in some words occur only in definite grammatical
functions and forms and in definite grammatical patterns.
The ties between lexicology and grammar are
particularly strong in the sphere of word-formation which
before lexicology became a separate branch of linguistics had
even been considered as a part of grammar. The characteristic
features of English word-building, the morphological structure
of the English word are dependent upon the peculiarity of the
English grammatical system. The analytical character of the
language is largely responsible for the wide spread of conversion
and for the remarkable flexibility of the vocabulary manifest in
the ease with which many nonce-words are formed on the spur
of the moment.
Language is the reality of thought, and thought
develops together with the development of society, therefore
language and its vocabulary must be studied in the light of
social history. A word, through its meaning rendering some
notion, is a generalised reflection of reality. The branch of
linguistics, dealing with causal relations between the way the
language works and develops, on the one hand, and the facts of
social life, on the other, is termed sociolinguistics.
Lexicology deals with various lexical units:
morphemes, words, variable word-groups and phraseological
units. We proceed from the assumption that the word is the
basic unit of language system, the largest on the morphologic
and the smallest on the syntactic level of linguistic analysis.
The word is a structural and semantic entity within the
language system.
The modern approach to word studies is based on
distinguishing between the external and the internal structures
of the word. By external structure of the word we mean its
morphological structure (the following morphemes can be
distinguished: the prefixes, the root, the suffixes). The internal
structure of the word, or its meaning, is referred to as the
word’s semantic structure. It is the main aspect of a word.
The definition of every basic notion is a very hard task:
the definition of a word is one of the most difficult in
linguistics because the simplest word has many different
aspects. It has a sound form because it is a certain arrangement
of phonemes; it has its morphological structure, being also a
certain arrangement of morphemes; when used in actual
speech, it may occur in different word forms, different
syntactic functions and signal various meanings.
A few examples will suffice to show that any definition
is conditioned by the aims and interests of its author. Thomas
Hobbes, one of the great English philosophers, revealed a
materialistic approach to the problem of nomination. He wrote
that words are not mere sounds but names of matter. The great
Russian physiologist I. P. Pavlov analyzed the word in
connection with his studies of the second signal system, and
defined it as a universal signal that can substitute any other
signal from the environment in evoking a response in a human
organism. One of the latest developments of science and
engineering is machine translation. It also deals with words
and requires a rigorous definition for them. It runs as follows: a
word is a sequence of graphemes which can occur between
spaces, or the representation of such a sequence on morphemic
Within the sphere of linguistics the word has been
defined syntactically, semantically, phonologically and by
combining various approaches.
It has been syntactically defined for instance as “the
minimum sentence” by H. Sweet and much later by
L. Bloomfield as “a minimum free form”. E. Sapir pays
attention to the syntactic and semantic aspects when he calls
the word “one of the smallest completely satisfying bits of
isolated “meaning”, into which the sentence resolves itself”.
The semantic-phonological approach may be illustrated by
A. H. Gardiner’s definition: “A word is an articulate soundsymbol in its aspect of denoting something which is spoken
A word is the smallest significant unit of a given
language capable of functioning alone and characterised by
positional mobility within a sentence, morphological
uninterruptability and semantic integrity. All these criteria are
indispensable because they let us to create a basis for the
oppositions between the word and the phrase, the word and the
phoneme, and the word and the morpheme.
Summing up our review of different definitions, we can
conclude that they are bound to be strongly dependent upon the
line of approach, the aim the scholar has in view. For a
comprehensive word theory, consequently, a description seems
more appropriate than a definition. The word is the
fundamental unit of language. It is a dialectical unity of form
and content. The word may be described as the basic speech
unit used for the purposes of human communication,
materially representing a group of sounds, possessing a
meaning, susceptible to grammatical employment and
characterized by formal and semantic unity.
The word as well as any linguistic sign is a two-facet
unit possessing both form and content or, more specifically,
sound form and meaning. Its content or meaning is not
identical to notion, but it may reflect human notions, and in
this sense may be thought of as the form of their existence.
Concepts fixed in the meaning of words are formed as
generalised and approximately correct reflections of reality.
When used in actual speech the word undergoes certain
modification and functions in one of its forms. The system
showing a word in all its word-forms is called its paradigm.
The lexical meaning оf а word is the same throughout the
paradigm, i. e. all the word-forms of one and the same word
are lexically identical. The grammatical meaning varies from
one form to another (cf. to take, takes, took, taking or singer,
singer’s, singers, singers’). There are two approaches to the
paradigm: (a) as a system of forms of one word it reveals the
differences and relationships between them; (b) in abstraction
from concrete words it is treated as a pattern on which every
word of one part of speech models its forms, thus serving to
distinguish one part of speech from another. Cf. the noun
paradigm – ( ), -’s, -s, -s’ as distinct from that of the regular
verb – ( ) ,-s, -ed1, -ed2, -ing, etc.
Morphological Structure of English Words
Taking into account the word-structure, words appear
to be divisible into smaller units which are called morphemes.
A morpheme can be described as an association of a given
meaning with a given sound pattern. It can’t be devided into
smaller meaningful units. That is why the morpheme may be
defined as the minimum meaningful language unit.
The term morpheme is derived from Gr. morphe
“form” + -eme. The Greek suffix -eme has been adopted by
linguists to denote the smallest significant or distinctive unit
(Cf. phoneme, sememe).
Morphemes may be classified: a) from the semantic
point of view; b) from the structural point of view.
a) Semantically morphemes fall into two classes: rootmorphemes and non-root or affixational morphemes. Roots
and affixes make two distinct classes of morphemes on
account of the different roles they play in word-structure.
Roots and affixational morphemes are generally easily
distinguished and the difference between them is clearly felt
as, e. g., in the words helpless, handy, blackness, refill,
Londoner, etc.: the root-morphemes help-, hand-, black-,-fill,
London-, are understood as the lexical centres of the words, as
the basic constituent parts without which the words are
The root-morpheme is the lexical nucleus of a word. It
has an individual lexical meaning which doesn’t have any
other morpheme of the language. It is necessary to remember
that the part-of-speech meaning is not found in roots. The rootmorpheme is isolated as the morpheme common to a set of
words making up a word-cluster, for example, the morpheme
teach- in to teach, teacher, teaching, theor- in theory, theorist,
theoretical, etc.
Non-root morphemes include inflectional morphemes
or inflections and affixational morphemes or affixes.
Inflections carry only grammatical meaning and, consequently,
are significant only for the formation of word-forms, whereas
affixes are relevant for building various types of stems. A stem
is the part of a word that remains unchanged throughout its
Affixes are subdivided into prefixes and suffixes: a
prefix precedes the root-morpheme, a suffix follows it.
Affixes possess the part-of-speech meaning and a generalised
lexical meaning.
The part of a word, which remains unchanged in all the
forms of its paradigm is called a stem: darken in darkens,
darkened, darkening. The stem hippie can be found in the
words: hippie, hippies, hippie’s, hippies’. The stem job-hop
can be found in the words: job-hop, job-hops, job-hopped, jobhopping. Stems have not only the lexical meaning but also
grammatical (part-of-speech) meaning, they can be noun stems
(girl in the adjective girlish), adjective stems (girlish in the
noun girlishness), verb stems (expell in the noun expellee) etc.
They differ from words by the absence of inflexions in their
structure, they can be used only in the structure of words.
Stems, the same as words, can be simple, derived,
compound and compound-derived. Stems that coincide with
roots are known as simple stems, e. g. trees, reads, etc. Stems
that include one or more affixes are called derived stems, e. g.
governments, teacher’s, etc. Binary stems comprising two
simple or derived stems are called compound stems, e. g. exfilm-star, schoolboy, etc. Compound-derived stems consist of
two or more root morphemes, one or more affixes and an
inflexion, e. g. middle-of-the-roaders, job-hopper.
b) Structurally morphemes can be divided into three
types: free morphemes, bound morphemes, semi-free (semibound) morphemes (see Table 1).
A free morpheme is defined as one that coincides with
the stem or a word-form. Root-morphemes are free
morphemes, for instance, the root-morpheme friend – of the
noun friendship is naturally qualified as a free morpheme
because it coincides with one of the forms of the noun friend.
A bound morpheme occurs only as a constituent part of
a word. Affixes are, naturally, bound morphemes, for they
always make part of a word, e. g. the suffixes -ness, -ship, -ise
(-ize), etc., the prefixes un-, dis-, de-, etc. (e. g. readiness,
comradeship, to activise; unnatural, to displease, to decipher,
Bound morphemes can be further subdivided into
derivational or inflectional. Derivational morphemes, when
combined with a root, change either the semantic meaning or
part of speech of the affected word. For instance, in the word
happiness, the addition of the bound morpheme -ness to the
root happy changes the word from an adjective (happy) to a
noun (happiness). In the word unkind, un- functions as a
derivational morpheme, for it inverts the meaning of the word
formed by the root kind.
Many root-morphemes also belong to the class of
bound morphemes which always occur in morphemic
sequences, i. e. in combinations with roots or affixes. All
unique roots and pseudo-roots are-bound morphemes. Such are
the root-morphemes theor- in theory, theoretical, etc., barbarin barbarism, barbarian, etc., -ceive in conceive, perceive, etc.
Semi-bound (semi-free) morphemes are morphemes
that can function in a morphemic sequence both as an affix and
as a free morpheme. For example, the morpheme well and half
on the one hand occur as free morphemes that coincide with
the stem and the word-form in utterances like sleep well, half
an hour, on the other hand they occur as bound morphemes in
words like well-known, half-eaten, half-done.
Table 1 ˗- Structural Types of Morphemes
e. g. friend- in
e. g. re- in
e. g. manin manmade
Morphemes fall into lexical and grammatical
(functional) morphemes. Both lexical and grammatical
morphemes can be free and bound. Free lexical morphemes are
roots of words. Free grammatical morphemes are function
words: articles, conjunctions and prepositions (the, with, and).
Bound lexical morphemes are affixes: prefixes (dis-), suffixes
(-ish). Bound grammatical morphemes are inflexions
(endings), e. g. -s for the Plural of nouns, -ed for the Past
Indefinite of regular verbs, -ing for the Present Participle, -er
for the Comparative degree of adjectives (see Table 2).
Table 2 ˗- Bound morphemes
Bound morphemes
e. g. happiness
e. g cats
Positional variants of a morpheme are known as
allomorphs. Thus the prefix in- (involuntary) can be
represented by allomorph il- (illegal), im- (impossible), ir(irregular).
In the second half of the twentieth century the English
wordbuilding system was enriched by creating so called
splinters which are included in the affixation stock of the
Modern English wordbuilding system. Splinters are the result
of clipping the beginning or the end of a word and producing a
number of new words on the analogy with the primary wordgroup. For instance, there are many words formed with the
help of the splinter mini- (apocopy produced by clipping the
word miniature), such as miniplane, minicycle, minicar,
miniradio and others. These words denote objects of smaller
than normal dimensions. On the analogy with mini- there
appeared the splinter maxi- (apocopy produced by clipping the
word maximum), such words as maxi-series, maxi-sculpture,
maxi-taxi, etc. These splinters are regarded sometimes as
prefixes. There are also splinters which are formed by means
of apheresis, that is clipping the beginning of a word. The
origin of such splinters can be variable, e. g. the splinter burger
appeared in English as the result of clipping the German
borrowing hamburger (the stem hamburg and the suffix -er).
However in English the beginning of the word hamburger was
associated with the English word ham, and the end of the word
burger got the meaning a bun cut into two parts. On the
analogy with the word hamburger quite a number of new
words were coined, such as: baconburger, beefburger,
cheeseburger, fishburger, etc. In the seventieths of the
twentieth century there was a political scandal in the hotel
“Watergate” where the Democratic Party of the USA had its
pre-election headquarters. Republicans managed to install bugs
there and when they were discovered there was a scandal and
the ruling American government had to resign. The name
“Watergate” acquired the meaning “a political scandal”,
“corruption”. Similarly to this word quite a number of other
words were formed by using the splinter gate (apheresis of the
word Watergate), such as: Irangate, Westlandgate, shuttlegate,
milliongate, etc. The splinter gate is added mainly to Proper
names: names of people involved in the scandal or a
geographical name denoting the place where the scandal
occurred. The splinter mobile was formed by clipping the
beginning of the word automobile and is used to denote special
types of automobiles, such as: snowmobile, tourmobile, etc.
The splinter napper was formed by clipping the beginning of
the word kidnapper and is used to denote different types of
crimes, such as: busnapper, babynapper, dognapper, etc. The
splinter aholic (holic) was formed by clipping the beginning of
the word alcoholic of Arabian origin where al denoted the
koh’l – “powder for staining lids”. The splinter (a)holic means
infatuated by the object denoted by the stem of the word, e. g.
workaholic and many others.
Splinters can be called pseudomorphemes because they
are neither roots nor affixes, they are more or less artificial.
Splinters have only one function in English: they serve to alter
the lexical meaning of the same part of speech, whereas
prefixes and suffixes can also alter the part-of-speech meaning,
e. g. the prefix en- and its allomorph em- can form verbs from
noun and adjective stems (embody, enable, endanger), postand pre- can form adjectives from noun stems (pre-election
campaign, post-war events), the suffixes -er, -ing, -ment form
nouns from verbal stems (teacher, dancing, movement), -ness,
-ity are used to form nouns from adjective stems (clannishness,
In the English language of the second half of the
twentieth century there developed so called block compounds,
that is compound words which have a uniting stress but a split
spelling, such as chat show, pinguin suit, etc. Such compound
words can be easily mixed up with word-groups of the type
stone wall, so called nominative binomials. Such linguistic
units serve to denote a notion which is more specific than the
notion expressed by the second component and consists of two
nouns, the first of which is an attribute to the second one. If we
compare a nominative binomial with a compound noun with
the structure N+N we shall see that a nominative binomial has
no unity of stress. The change of the order of its components
will change its lexical meaning, e. g. vid kid is “a kid who is a
video fan” while kid vid means “a video-film for kids” or else
lamp oil means “oil for lamps” and oil lamp means “a lamp
which uses oil for burning”. Among language units we can
also mark out word combinations of different structural types
of idiomatic and non-idiomatic character, such as the first
fiddle, high road and round table. There are also sentences
which are studied by grammarians.
Thus, we can draw the conclusion that in Modern
English the following language units can be defined:
morphemes, splinters, words, nominative binomials, nonidiomatic and idiomatic word-combinations, sentences.
Exercise 1. Make the morphemic analysis of the
following words.
post-impressionists, workmanship, outstay, eatable,
illustrate, generations, cliff-hangers, courtroom, incredibly,
lifelong, obsession, appreciated, in-depth, research, coastal,
wonderful, heartstopper, back-of-the-neck, bedclothes,
brilliant, descriptions, superbly, read-in-one-day, pedal-to-themetal crowd-passer, one-sit thriller, hair-raiser, extremely,
interesting, exciting, anyone, marvelous, contemporary,
Exercise 2. Classify the stems of the words given
below into simple, derived, compound.
playwright, sunflower, shockproof, look, blue-eyed,
cup, dusty, homeless, extremely, music, drumbeat, teenager,
fantastic, table, hilarious, place, grown-up, read, sisterhood,
outstanding, novel, booklist, standard, excellence, sciencefiction, footstep, visionary, homelessness, bittersweet,
everywhere, portrait, indelible, impression, reaffirming,
nowadays, horror, convincingly, detailed, acronym, mile.
Exercise 3. Classify the morphemes given in bold type
from the structural point of view.
1. You and I know that soon Uncle Monty will be dead
and the Baudelaires will be miserable. 2. They tried the gate
themselves and found that it was unlocked. 3. If you ever
planning a vocation, you may find if useful to acquire a
guidebook. 4. Klaus frowned at the hand-drown map that was
attached to the note with another wad of gum. 5. Enclosed you
will find a map of the Lucky Smells Lumbermill. 6. During the
week that followed, however, the Baudelaires had a wonderful
time in their new home. 7. The window curtains somehow
made the room even more pathetic, a word which here means
“depressing”. 8. But in front of the house was what was truly
unusual: a vast, well-kept lawn, dotted with long, thin shrubs
in remarkable shapes. 9. Mr. Poe stepped up to the door and
rang a doorbell that was one of the loudest the children had
ever heard. 10. The dormitory is straight ahead, between the
storage shed and the lumbermill itself. 11. And somebody has
to slice an enormous length of rope into small, workable
pieces. 12. He was in charge of overseeing the orphans’ affairs,
so it was he who decided that the children would be placed in
the care of a unpleasantness with Count Olaf. 13. Full of
drama, full of passion, full of intrigue and heroism. 14. I like it
because it is full of suspense and rather adventureful.
15. Greatest little story of power, intrigue, ambition, disregard,
corruption and horror.
Exercise 4. Comment on splinters, nominative
binomials, block compounds, non-idiomatic and idiomatic
telecast, abroadcast, townscape, seascape, allergenic,
cardiogenic, mediagenic, Green Berets, a devil’s dozen, table
lamp, open heart, a pin drop, a double game, talk show, hobbyhorse, a lucky star, a kitchen garden, a trial balloon, a pure
coin, the last drop, fashion world, a bitter pill, a mean trick,
under-water rocks, a snail’s pace, chicken tracks, a camel’s
back, a bookworm, a diamond ring.
Main Structural Types of Words
English words are devided into 4 main structural types:
– simple words (or root words) have only a root
morpheme in their structure. This type is widely represented by
a great number of words belonging to the original English
stock or to earlier borrowings (house, room, book, street, etc.)
and in Modern English has been greatly enlarged by
conversion (e. g. hand – to hand, pale – to pale, etc.). There
are also some shortenings or contractions, which are created by
shortening (contraction), e. g. ad, lab, flu, M.P., etc.
– derivatives or derived words consist of a root and one
or more affixes. They are produced by the word-building
process known as affixation or derivation, e. g. joyful, retell,
enlarge, etc. There is an extremely large amount of such words
in English vocabulary.
– compounds – in which two or more stems are
combined into a lexical unit, e. g. classroom, snow-white,
– derivational compounds formed by a simultaneous
process of composition and derivation. The process of wordbuilding in these seemingly similar words is different: millowner is coined by composition, honey-mooner – by derivation
from the compound honeymoon. Honeymoon being a
compound, honeymooner is a derivative. The ultimate
constituents of derivational compounds are: noun stem+noun
stem+ -er. The suffix -er is one of the productive suffixes in
forming derivational compounds. Another frequent type of
derivational compounds are compounds of the type kindhearted: adjective stem+ noun stem+ -ed. The derivational
compounds often become the basis of further derivation.
There are two characteristic features of English
compounds: a) English compounds have mainly two-stem
pattern; b) both components in an English compound are free
stems, that is they can be used as words with their individual
Compound words in English can be formed not only by
means of composition but also by means of:
a) reduplication, e. g. too-too, and also by means of
reduplicating combined with sound interchange, e. g. tip-top;
b) conversion from word-groups, e. g. to micky-mouse,
c) back formation from compound nouns or wordgroups, e. g. to fingerprint;
d) analogy, e. g. lie-in, phone-in (on the analogy with
According to their structure compounds fall into (see
Table 3):
a) compound words proper which comprise two stems,
e. g. to job-hunt, train-sick;
b) derivational compounds, where besides the stems we
have affixes, e. g. ear-minded, hydro-skimmer;
c) compound words consisting of three or more stems,
e. g. eggshell-thin, singer-songwriter;
d) compound-shortened words, e. g. V-day, motocross.
Table 3 ˗- Сlassification of compounds according to their
e. g.
e. g. blueeyed,
three or more
e. g. wastepaperbasket,
e. g.
There exists a more detailed classification of the
structural types of words. The varieties of root morphemes, the
positions of affixes as regards the root are taken into account.
Simple words.
R1 – stop, now, desk;
Rfr – lab (laboratory), pop (popular);
Derived words.
R + S – realize, dancer;
Rfr + S – combo (combination);
P + R – depart, subdivision;
P + R + S – misinterpretation, disagreeable;
Compound words/
R + R – time-table, schoolgirl;
Rfr + Rfr – smog (smoke + fog), brunch (breakfast +
9. R + I + R – gasometer, statesman;
10. (R + S) + R – writing – table, safety-belt;
11. R + (R + S) – pen-holder, sky-jumping;
12. R + F + R – stay-at-home, true-to-life;
IV. Derivational compounds.
13. (R + R) + S – snub-nosed, long-legged.
The four types (root words, derived words, compounds
and derivational compounds) represent the main structural
types of Modern English words. Conversion, derivation and
composition are the most productive ways of word-building
process. By word-building are understood processes of
producing new words from the resources of the language.
Various types of word formation in modern English possess
different degrees of productivity, some of them are highly
Conventional signs: R – root, Rfr – root fragment, S – suffix, P
– prefix, I – interfix, F – function word
productive such as affixation, compounding, shortening,
conversion, forming phrasal words others are semi-productive,
such as back formation, reduplication, blending, sound
imitation and non- productive – sound interchange and change
of stress.
Exercise 5. Comment on the structural types of the
following words.
news-stand, cupboard, sun-bleached, true-to-life, longlegged, inhabit, speedometer, lip-read, sky, strong-willed,
acceptable, hide-and-seek, combo, snow-white, disagreement,
vote-catching, smog, fridge, gasometer, schoolboy, retell, pop,
wedding-finger, misinterpretation, zoo, small, light-minded,
price, mags, unputdownable, unindentified, person, majority,
frightening, generation, neck, ads, gym, Anglo-American,
Exercise 6 Comment on polysemy and homonymy of
affixes in the following words. Translate the words into
decompose, demobilize, decompress, depart, decontrol,
degrade, defense; uncomfortable, uncommon, unconditional,
unconscious, uncontrollable; discharge, discard, disbud,
disbelieve, disbranch, disclose, disafforest, disadvantage, exwife, ex-president, exceed, expostulate, exposition,
exportation; suborder, subsurface, substratum, substratosphere,
substandard, subsoil, substation; boredom, freedom, kingdom;
redden, golden, brighten, widen; English, womanish, greyish,
stylish; government, development, amusement, abridgement,
payment; weekly, monthly, poorly, quickly, slowly, manly;
teacher, worker, boiler, Londoner; package, postage, marriage,
hostage, breakage.
Exercise 7 Comment on the structural types of the
words given in bold type.
1. Exciting stuff... Brown certainly does have a knack
for spinning a suspenseful yarn. 2. Reading this book is like a
holiday – an interlude of pleasure... 3. Unbelievable! I read
this book like a hungry cat! 4. Crichton’s sci-fi is convincingly
detailed. 5. A madcap mixture of Nord, folk spunk and high
elegance and definitely its own space. 6. Push aside the velvet
curtain to give a glimpse of the glamorous yet barracuda-like
world of fashion... 7. A strikingly accurate depiction of the
slightly loony worlds of fashion and high-stakes glamour
magazines. 8. I automatically began in-depth research about
Garmouth and wartime coastal England. 9. If you like tough
cop/police work/serial killer/courtroom drama, this is a good
one. 10. Life-or-death cliff-hangers, thrilling cat-and-mouse
maneuvers, romance, religion, science, murder, mysticism,
architecture, and action. 11. I had never seen this side of her
before, not ever. 12. Learn your way around loneliness.
13. Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face.
14. Frankly, pure pleasure is not my cultural paradigm.
15. For instance, perhaps I could remain totally celibate except
for keeping a pair of handsome twenty-five-year-old Italian
twin brothers as lovers. 16. I let myself into my tiny little
studio, all alone. 17. Sobbing so hard, in fact, that a great lake
of tears and snot was spreading before me on the bathroom
tiles, a veritable Lake Inferior (if you will) of all my shame and
fear and confusion and grief. 18. Thank you, thank you, thank
you, thank you for giving me one more month to live. 19. I set
the book down in my lap, shaking with relief. 20. Make a map
of it. 21. I remember him calling up about that ad. 22. Purely
as a matter of principle I wouldn't inflict my sorry, busted-up
old self on the lovely, unsullied Giovanni. 23. As I try to speak
logically about my missing box of books, the woman looks at
me like I'm blowing spit bubbles. 24. I used to think the 109th
bead was an emergency spare, like the extra button on a fancy
sweater, or the youngest son in a royal family. 25. That double
combo sugar-caffeine rush that made the world go round.
26. This has always been an upscale district. 27. That sounds
like an innuendo, but unfortunately it's not.
Exercise 8 Comment on the structural types of the
compounds given in bold type.
1. When I was a kid, my dad and I could drive from the
historic district near the Cape Fear River to Wrightsville Beach
in ten minutes, but so many stoplights and shopping centers
have been added that it can now take an hour, especially on the
weekends, when the tourists come flooding in. 2. He was most
content while sitting in his den, studying a coin dealer
newsletter nicknamed the Greysheet and trying to figure out
the next coin he should add to his collection. 3. “But I am a
little disappointed that you forgot,” she added, almost as an
afterthought. 4. The shrimp shack is in downtown
Wilmington, in the historic area that borders the Cape Fear
River. 5. A broken rowboat sat near the door. 6. Most of the
tables were filled, but I motioned toward one near the jukebox.
7. I set it up on the back porch and emptied out the charcoal
dust before hosing off the cobwebs and letting it dry in the
sun. 8. As we watched, the rain intensified into a steady
downpour, falling diagonally from the sky. 9. Later I took her
to see the battleship, but we didn’t stay long. 10. Though I
wanted to open it immediately, I waited until we’d lifted off
from the runway. 11. It doesn’t sound so far-fetched, right?
12. It wasn’t just her slightly gap-toothed smile, it was the
casual way she swiped at a loose strand of hair, the easy way
she held herself. 13. She met my gaze without a hint of selfconsciousness. 14. Common or garden gold-digger. And she
knew her stuff. She’d got her hooks into Jeff all right.
15. “People call her a scandalmonger”, said Mrs Bantry, “but
she isn’t really”. 16. He and her wife occupy a self-contained
flat in Yewtree Lodge, though they are moving into their own
house at Baydon Heath very shortly. 17. Percival is a mealymouthed hypocrite. 18. Though, as I say, I do it with the
utmost diffidence because I know I am very old and rather
muddle-headed, and I dare say my idea is of no value at all.
19. The father was an old country doctor – terrifically pigheaded – the complete family tyrant. 20. You’ve no idea,
Neele, how tired one gets of the inevitable weed-killer. 21. He
asked me to move directly under the hanging lightbulb so he
could take a better look. 22. According to my guidebook, the
women who modeled for the nymphs were a pair of sisters,
two popular burlesque dancers of their day. 23. Outside, the
sky was a brilliant red and orange, the purple darkness and the
yellow of the smog mixing with the horizon. 24. The
speedometer read eighty-five. 25. It’s my writing-pad.
26. Why did I feel so overwhelmed with duty, tired of being
the primary breadwinner and the housekeeper and the social
coordinator and the dog-walker and the wife and the soon-tobe mother, and somewhere in my stolen moments – a writer?
27. I didn’t have to play hide-and-seek anymore. 28. I felt like
I was some kind of primitive spring-loaded machine, placed
under far more tension than it had ever been built to sustain,
about to blast apart at great danger to anyone standing nearby.
Word-formation is the process of creating new words
from the material available in the word-stock according to
certain structural and semantic patterns specific for the given
language. Word-formation is that branch of Lexicology which
studies the derivative structure of existing words and the
patterns on which a language, in this case the English
language, builds new words. It is obvious that word-formation
proper can deal only with words which are analysable both
structurally and semantically. The study of the simple word as
such has no place in it. Simple words are very closely
connected with word-formation because they serve as the
foundation, the basic source of the parent units motivating all
types of derived and compound words.
Some of the ways of forming words in modern English
can be resorted to for the creation of new words whenever the
occasion demands – these are called prоduсtive ways of
forming words, other ways of forming words cannot now
produce new words, and these are mostly termed nonproductive or unproductive. For example, affixation has been a
productive way of forming words ever since the Old English
period; on the other hand, sound-interchange must have been at
one time a word-building means but in Modern English its
function is actually only to distinguish between different
classes and forms of words.
Consequently, productivity of word-building ways is
considered to be the ability of making new words which all
who speak English find no difficulty in understanding, in
particular their ability to create what are called occasional
words. The term suggests that a speaker coins such words
when he needs them; if on another occasion the same word is
needed again, he coins it afresh. The following words may
serve as illustration: (his) collarless (appearance), a lungful (of
smoke), a Dickensish (office), to unlearn (the rules), etc.
Three degrees of productivity are distinguished for
derivational patterns and individual derivational affixes:
l) highly-productive, 2) productive or semi-productive and
3) non-productive.
Most linguists consider as the chief processes of
compounding. Besides, these a number of minor ways of
forming words such as back-formation, reduplication, sound
interchange, distinctive stress, sound imitation, blending,
clipping and acronymy are traditionally also referred to wordformation.
We proceed from the understanding of word-formation
and the classification of word-formation types as found in
A. I. Smirnitskiy’s book on English Lexicology. Wordformation is the system of derivative types of words and the
process of creating new words from the material available in
the language after certain structural and semantic formulas and
patterns. For instance, the noun driver is formed after the
pattern v+-er, i. e. a verbal stem + the noun-forming suffix -er.
The meaning of the derived noun driver is related to the
meaning of the stem drive- “to direct the course of a vehicle”
and the suffix -er meaning “an active agent”: a driver is “one
who drives” (a carriage, motorcar, railway engine, etc.).
Likewise compounds resulting from two or more stems joined
together to form a new word are also built on quite definite
structural and semantic patterns and formulas, for instance
adjectives of the snow-white type are built according to the
formula п+а, etc. It can easily be observed that the meaning of
the whole compound is also related to the meanings of the
component parts.
In conformity with structural types of words described
above the following two types of word-formation may be
distinguished, word-derivation and word-composition (or
compounding). Words created by word-derivation have only
one derivational base and one derivational affix, e. g. cleanness
(from clean), to overestimate (from to estimate), chairmanship
(from chairman), etc. Some derived words have no derivational
affixes, because derivation is achieved through conversion,
e. g. to paper (from paper), a fall (from to fall), etc. Words
created by word-composition have at least two bases, e. g.
lamp-shade, ice-cold, looking-glass, daydream, speedometer,
snow-white, flowerbed, etc.
Within the types, further distinction may be made
between the ways of forming words. The basic ways of
forming words in word-derivatiоn, for instance, are affixation
and conversion.
Affixation is one of the most productive ways of wordbuilding throughout the history of English. It consists in
adding an affix or affixes to the stem. Affixation is divided into
suffixation and prefixation.
Suffixation is the most common type of affixation. In
suffixation, the affix is added to the end of the base. For
example, the suffix-ness is added to the adjective fond to form
the noun fondness; the suffix -s is added to the noun car to
produce the plural of the noun – cars. In most languages,
suffixation is the most widespread form of affixation. In
languages such as Turkish and Finnish, it is the only type of
The main function of suffixes in Modern English is to
form one part of speech from another; the secondary function
is to change the lexical meaning of the same part of speech.
(e. g. “educate” is a verb, “education” is a noun, and “music”
is a noun, “musicdom” is also a noun).
There are different classifications of suffixes:
1. Part-of-speech classification. Suffixes derive a
certain part of speech, therefore one should distinguish nounforming, adjective-forming, numeral-forming, verb-forming
and adverb-forming suffixes.
Noun-forming suffixes: -age (bondage, breakage,
mileage, vicarage); -ance/-ence (assistance, reference); -ant/ent (disinfectant, student); -dom (kingdom, officialdom,
freedom); -ее (employee); -eer (profiteer);-er (writer, typewriter); -ess (actress, lioness); -hood (manhood); -ing
(building, meaning, washing); -ion/-sion/-tion/-ation (rebellion,
tension, creation, explanation); -ism/-icism (heroism,
criticism); -ist (novelist, communist); -ment (government,
nourishment); -ness (tenderness); -ship (friendship); -(i)ty
(unbearable, audible, soluble); -al (formal); -ic (poetic); -ical
(revolutionary); -ate/-ete (accurate, complete); -ed/-d
(wooded); -ful (delightful); -an/-ian (African, Australian); -ish
(Irish, reddish, childish); -ive (active); -less (useless); -like
(lifelike); -ous/-ious (tremendous, curious); -ly (manly); -some
(tiresome); -y (cloudy, dressy).
Numeral-forming suffixes: -fold (twofold); -teen
(fourteen); -th (seventh); -ty (sixty).
Verb-forming suffixes: -ate (facilitate); -fy/-ify (terrify,
speechify, solidify); -er (glimmer); -en (shorten); -ise/-ize
(equalise); -ish (establish).
Adverb-forming suffixes: -ly (coldly); -ward/-wards
(upward, northwards); -wise (likewise).
2. Origin of suffixes. From the etymological point of
view suffixes are subdivided into two main classes: native and
borrowed. By native suffixes we shall mean those that existed
in English in the Old English period or were formed from Old
English words: -dom, -hood, -lock, -ward, -y, -less, -like, -ship,
-th, -ful, -some, -teen, -wise, e. g. childhood, boyhood, freedom,
wisdom, etc. The suffixes of foreign origin are classified
according to their source into Latin (-able/-ible, -ant/-ent),
French (-age, -ance/-ence, -ancy/-ency, -ard, -ate, -sy), Greek
(-ist, -ism, -ite), etc. It should be kept in mind that many of the
borrowed suffixes are international and occur not only in
English but in several other European languages as well.
3. Productivity. Suffixes are classified into productive
(e. g. -er, -y, -ize, -ness, -less, etc.) and non-productive (e. g. th, -hood, -en, -ous, etc.).
4. Semantic classification. Suffixes changing the lexical
meaning of the stem can be subdivided into groups, e. g. nounforming suffixes can denote: a) the agent of the action, e. g. -er
(experimenter), -ist (taxist), -ent (student), b) nationality, e. g.
-ian (Russian), -ese (Japanese), -ish (English), c) collectivity,
e. g. -dom (moviedom), -ry (peasantry), -ship (readership), -ati
(literati), d) diminutiveness, e. g. -ie (horsie), -let (booklet),
-ling (gooseling), -ette (kitchenette), e) quality, e. g. -ness
(copelessness), -ity (answerability).
5. Lexico-grammatical character of the stem. Suffixes
which can be added to certain groups of stems are subdivided
into: a) suffixes added to verbal stems, such as: -er (commuter),
-ing (suffering), -able (flyable), -ment (involvement),
b) suffixes added to noun stems, such as: -less (smogless), -ful
(roomful), -ism (adventurism), -ster (pollster), -ish (childish),
c) suffixes added to adjective stems, such as: -en (weaken), -ly
(pinkly), -ish (longish), -ness (clannishness).
Suffixes can be polysemantic, such as: -er can form
nouns with the following meanings: agent, doer of the action
expressed by the stem (speaker), profession, occupation
(teacher), a device, a tool (transmitter). While speaking about
suffixes we should also pay attention to compound suffixes
which are added to the stem at the same time, such as -ably,
-ibly, (terribly, reasonably), -ation (adaptation from adapt).
Prefixation is the formation of words by means of
adding a prefix to the stem. Prefixes are more independent than
suffixes. Prefixes can be classified according to the nature of
words in which they are used: prefixes used in notional words
and prefixes used in functional words. Prefixes used in notional
words are proper prefixes which are bound morphemes, e. g.
un-(unhappy). Prefixes used in functional words are semibound morphemes because they can be separate words, e. g.
over- (overhead). The main function of prefixes in English is to
change the lexical meaning of the same part of speech.
Prefixes can be classified according to different
1. Origin of prefixes: a) native (Germanic), such as:
over-, un-, under-, etc. b) Romanic, such as: in-, de-, ex-, re-,
etc. c) Greek, such as: sym-, hyper-, etc.
2. Semantic classification: a) prefixes of negative
meaning, such as : un- (unfree), in- (invaluable), non(nonformals), etc, b) prefixes denoting repetition or reversal
actions, such as: dis- (disconnect), de- (decolonize), re(revegetation), c) prefixes denoting time, space, degree
relations, such as: d), pre- (pre-election), inter(interplanetary), hyper- (hypertension), ex- (ex-student) over(overdrugging), etc.
Exercise 1. Form words with the following affixes.
State to what part of speech they belong.
un-, over-, under-, -tion, -ment, -ance, -th, -hood, -en,
-ous, -er, re-, -y, -ize, -ness, -less, anti-, co-, ex-, extra-, ultra-,
-ing, -ion, -pre-, sub-, mis-, -ful, -able, -ish, sub-, -like, -ly, dom, -ee, -ism, -ist, -ed, -ive, in-, im-, -ibly, inter-, hyper-, non, -ly, dis-, il-, -al.
Exercise 2. Pick out the words with the affixes, analyse
1. Between 7.30 and 8.30 every morning except
Sundays, Johnnie Butt made the round of the village of
Chipping Cleghorn on his bicycle, whistling vociferously
through his teeth. 2. He alights at each house or cottage to
shove though the letter box such morning papers as had been
ordered by the occupants of the house in question from Mr.
Totman, stationer, of the High Street. 3. When you turn on
your wireless in the evening it will be the Idylls of the King
you will hear and not interminable Trollope. 4. But was there a
note of wariness – or did he imagine it? 5. Rather stupid really,
you know, but full of cupidity and probably extremely
credulous. 6. “No-no, I suppose not”, said Mrs. Bantry
doubtfully. 7. “I did not dream it”, said Mrs. Bantry firmly.
8. So well ordered was her prim spinster’s life that unforeseen
telephone calls were a source of vivid. 9. Her herbaceous
borders are simply marvelous – they make me green with envy.
10. She went on hopefully. 11. Worn with pain, and weak from
the prolonged hardship which I had undergone I was removed,
with a great train of wounded sufferers, to the base hospital at
Peshavan. 12. I was dispatched, accordingly, in the troopship
“Orontes”, and landed a month later on Portsmouth jelly, with
my health irretrievably ruined, but with permission from a
paternal government to spend the next nine months in
attempting to improve it. 13. There I stayed for some time at a
private hotel in the Strand, leading a comfortless, meaningless
existence, and spending such money as I had, considerably
more freely than I ought. 14. I should prefer a man of studious
and quiet habits. 15. I am not strong enough yet to stand much
noise or excitement. 16. That’s why I want you to come and
help me to find out who did it and unravel the mystery and all
that. 17. Colonel Bantry was shooed back into the dining-room
rather like a recalcitrant hen. 18. Slack he had never much
taken to – an energetic man who belied his name and who
accompanied his bustling manner with a good deal of disregard
for the feelings of anyone he did not consider important.
19. She stopped, and made a slight insignificant gesture of
helplessness. 20. This statement received more incredulity than
any other. 21. “You wish, Aunt Letty, to disguise your
intelligent anticipation?” – Patrick reassure her. 22. The only
incongruous note was a small silver vase with dead violets in it
on the table. 23. Phillipa Haymes was too wooden for
Rosalind, her fairness and her impassivity were intensely
English. 24. But that may be just prejudice on my part. 25. It is
not easy to express the inexpressible, he answered with laugh.
26. “You are to be congratulated”, – I remarked.
27. Sometimes he spent his days at the laboratory, sometimes
in the dissecting-rooms, and occasionally in long walks. 28. He
was extraordinarily generous, spontaneous, rather Quixotic.
Exercise 3. Translate the following words into
Ukrainian paying attention to the difference in their meaning.
Behave – misbehave, calculate – miscalculate, watery –
waterish, inform – misinform, loving – lovely – lovable, lead –
mislead, delightful – delighted, pronounce – mispronounce,
pleasant – pleased, agree – disagree, appear – disappear,
appoint – disappoint, colourful – coloured, tasty – tasteful,
shortened – shortish, starry – starred, bored – boring.
Exercise 4. Compare the meanings added by the
suffixes to the same roots.
centre: central, centralism, centralize, centralization,
centring, centric, centrical, centricity, centricalness, centrically,
beauty: beautiful, beautifully, beautify, beautician,
man: manful, manfully, manfulness, mandom,
manhood, manlike, manly, mannish, mannishness, manned,
womanlike, womanliness;
absorb: absorbed, absorbedly, absorbable, absorbency,
absorbent, absorption, absorptive, absorptiveness, absorptivity,
absorbingly, absorbing.
Conversion is one of the most productive ways of
modern English word-building. Conversion is sometimes
referred to as an affixless way of word-building or zeroaffixation. The term conversion first appeared in the book by
Henry Sweet “New English Grammar” in 1891. It implies
making a new word from some existing word by changing the
category of a part of speech. The new word has a meaning
different from that of the original one though it can more or
less be easily associated with it. It has also a new paradigm
peculiar to its new category as a part of speech.
Nurse, n
Nurse, v
-s, plural
-s, 3 person singular
-‘s, possessive case
-ed, past simple, past participle
s’, possessive case, plural
-ing, present participle, gerund
As soon as a word has crossed the category borderline,
the new word automatically acquires all the properties of the
new category, so that if it has entered the verb category, it is
used in all tense forms, it also develops the forms of the
participle and the gerund. Modern English dictionaries present
converted pairs as homonyms, as two words.
Not every case of noun and verb (or verb and adjective,
or adjective and noun) is the result of conversion. There are
numerous pairs of words, as drink – to drink, love – to love,
work – to work which do not refer to conversion but coincide
as a result of certain historical processes (dropping of ending,
simplification of stems, etc.). The first cases of conversion,
which were registered in the 14th centure, imitated such pairs
as love-to love, for they were numerous in the vocabulary and
were subconsciously accepted by native speakers as one of the
typical language patterns.
The two categories of parts of speech affected by
conversion are nouns and verbs: a hand – to hand, a face – to
face. Nouns are frequently made of verbs, e. g. He has still
plenty of go at his age (go-energy). Converted nouns can
denote: a) instant of an action e. g. a jump, a move, b) process
or state e. g. sleep, walk, c) agent of the action expressed by
the verb from which the noun has been converted, e. g. a help,
a flirt, a scold, d) object or result of the action expressed by the
verb from which the noun has been converted, e. g. a burn, a
find, a purchase, e) place of the action expressed by the verb
from which the noun has been converted, e. g. a drive, a stop,
a walk. Many nouns converted from verbs can be used only in
the Singular form and denote momentaneous actions. In such
cases we have partial conversion. Such deverbal nouns are
often used with such verbs as: to have, to get, to take etc., e. g.
to have a try, to give a push, to take a swim.
Conversion is the main way of forming verbs in
Modern English. Verbs can be formed from nouns of different
semantic groups and have different meanings because of that.
The meanings of the converted word and of the word from
which it was made can be associated. These associations can
be classified:
1. The noun is the name of a tool, the verb denotes an
action performed by this tool: to nail, to hammer, to pin, to
comb, to pencil, to brush.
2. The noun is the name of an animal, the verb
denotes an action or aspect of behavior, considered typical of
this animal: to dog, to rat, to wolf, to monkey.
3. The noun – the name of a part of the human body,
the verb – an action performed by it: to shoulder, to leg, to
elbow, to hand.
4. The noun denotes the name of a profession or
occupation, the verb – activity typical of it: to nurse, to cook,
to maid.
5. The noun – the name of a place and the verb – the
process of occupying the place or putting smth. or smb. in it: to
room, to place, to cage.
6. The noun – the name of a container, the verb – act
of putting smth. within the container: to pocket, to can, to
7. The noun – the name of a meal, the verb – the
process of taking it: to lunch, to supper.
8. The noun – the time, the verb can denote an action
performed at this time: to winter, to week-end.
The groups given above do not include all the great
variety of verbs made from nouns by conversion.
Verbs can also be made from adjectives: to yellow, to
green, to pale, to cool, etc. In such cases they denote the
change of the state, e. g. to tame (to become or make tame), to
clean, to slim, etc.
The flexibility of the English vocabulary system makes
a word formed by conversion capable of further derivation. For
example, to view “to watch television” gives viewable, viewer,
Conversion may be combined with other word-building
processes, such as composition. Attributive phrases like black
ball, black list, pin point, stone wall form the basis of such
firmly established verbs as blackball, blacklist, pinpoint,
stonewall. The same pattern is much used in nonce-words such
as to my-dear, to my-love, to blue-pencil.
“Stone wall” combinations. The problem whether
adjectives can be formed by means of conversion from nouns is
the subject of many discussions. In Modern English there are a
lot of word combinations of the type, e. g. price rise, wage
freeze, steel helmet, sand castle, etc. If the first component of
such units is an adjective converted from a noun, combinations
of this type are free word-groups typical of English (adjective +
noun). This point of view is proved by O. Yespersen by the
following facts: 1. “Stone” denotes some quality of the noun
“wall”. 2. “Stone” stands before the word it modifies, as
adjectives in the function of an attribute do in English.
3. “Stone” is used in the Singular though its meaning in most
cases is plural, and adjectives in English have no plural form.
4. There are some cases when the first component is used in the
Comparative or the Superlative degree, e. g. the bottomest end
of the scale. 5. After the first component the pronoun “one” can
be used instead of a noun, e. g. I shall not put on a silk dress, I
shall put on a cotton one. However Henry Sweet and some
other scientists consider the first component of such units to be
a noun in the function of an attribute. There are different
semantic relations between the components of “stone wall”
combinations. E. I. Chapnik classified them into the following
groups: 1. time relations, e. g. evening paper, 2. space
relations, e. g. top floor, 3. relations between the object and the
material of which it is made, e. g. steel helmet, 4. cause
relations, e. g. war orphan, 5. relations between a part and the
whole, e. g. a crew member, 6. relations between the object and
an action, e. g. arms production, 7. relations between the agent
and an action e. g. government threat, price rise, 8. relations
between the object and its designation, e. g. reception hall,
9. the first component denotes the head, organizer of the
characterized object, e. g. Clinton government, Forsyte family,
10. the first component denotes the field of activity of the
second component, e. g. language teacher, psychiatry doctor,
11. comparative relations, e. g. moon face, 12. qualitative
relations, e. g. winter apples.
Exercise 5. Comment on the examples of converted
words. State to what part of speech they belong.
1. If people only made prudent marriages, what a stop
to population there would be! 2. She is more of a hindrance
than a help. 3. We’ve had to slim down our holiday plans.
4. Mind you,’ he said, “I don't want to keep Negroes out of the
hero business, but I'm damned it I want them to corner the
market.” 5. Blinded by the steam, he had to fish around for the
soap in his bath. 6. The worst of all University snobs are those
unfortunates who go to rack and ruin from their desire to ape
their betters. 7. I have a good mind to nail down the facts, then
hold a press conference of my own and blow the whistle on the
CIA. 8. A search of the attic brought some valuable antiques to
hand. 9. Your letter is to hand. 10. I paper my room every year.
11. Who will dust all this furniture? 12. We decided to weekend somewhere in the country. 13. Where is the stop here?
14. “If anybody oranges me again tonight, I’ll knock his face
off”. 15. Mrs. Carmody backed her car. 16. He has nosed out a
perfect place for our camping holiday. 17. There are people
from around here who could make a pretty decent guess.
18. Instead of putting your dime right in, you get a dial tone
and make your call. 19. He reached for her again and Ollie
Weeks said sharply: “Bud! Cool it! 20. His achievements pale
into insignificance by the side of her victory. 21. Ollie agreed,
and dropped an empty into the beer cooler. 22. He bears the
rough well. 23. The platforms swarmed with office workers,
and Dave had to shoulder his way through the crowd.
24. Down the road, in twos and threes, more people were
gathering in for the day of marketing. 25. My thoughts have
been much occupied with the ups and downs, the fortunes and
misfortunes of married life.
Exercise 6. Comment on the examples of converted
pairs in the sentences below. State to what part of speech they
1. a) My grandmother bottled the juice and canned the
pickles. b) My grandmother put the juice in a bottle and the
pickles in a can. 2. a) She microwaved her lunch. b) She
heated her lunch in the microwave (noun). 3. The doctor eyed
my swollen eye. 4. a) The Goreans quickly pointed out that
there had already been a hand count in the Florida presidential
race, and that Bush himself had signed a law calling for their
use in Texas. b) Gore showed no sign of pain or remorse.
5. a) And the drama that reached such a fever pitch after the
polls closed had begun a good two years earlier, with the first
maneuverings in Washington and Texas. b) An auctioneer in a
baseball cap sits at a high wooden podium, calling out the
styles of furniture in a staccato rhythm, taking about
30 seconds to announce and close a sale. 6. a) Rove instructed
his staff to call network officials to complain, then he went
before the cameras himself to protest publicly. b) Mr. Bush
has not always been in step with his generation, staying distant
from the political upheavals of the 1960's that fueled the civil
rights movement, the protests (noun) against the Vietnam War
and the counterculture. 7. a) The absentee ballots were critical:
the Bush camp was counting on them to increase their man's
lead because so many came from servicemen abroad, who
tended to be Bush supporters. b) Another big reason for all the
new affordable technology is the steady increase in computing
power that we also see in our homes and offices.
8. a) Katherine Harris, the secretary of state and a Republican,
announced late Wednesday night that she would not accept
petitions to conduct manual recounts from Broward and Palm
Beach counties, both of which had voted for Mr. Gore by large
margins, to conduct such tallies. b) President-elect Bush
inherits a nation whose citizens will be ready to assist him in
the conduct of his large responsibilities. 9. a) Laughter seems
to signal an attempt to ingratiate oneself: in India, notes
Provine, men of lower castes giggle when addressing men of
higher castes, but never the other way round. b) A few days
ago in Manhattan, Ms. Yrjola was in her apartment in the
middle of a high-rise in the middle of everywhere when she
could not even get a decent signal (noun) on her handset.
10. a) I knifed the bread. b) I bought a new sharp knife.
11. a) Sometimes I forget to salt the soup. b) Salt is the main
product on the table. 12. a) My sister loves to fiddle. b) Fiddle
is my favorite musical instrument. 13. a) Sometimes one just
needs a good cry. b) The baby cried all night. 14. a) The guard
alerted the general to the attack. b) The enemy attacked
before an alert could be sounded. 15. To see an increase in
profits we need to increase our productivity. 16. a) And it is
hard to imagine that Mr. Bush will not occasionally want his
father on the other end of the telephone giving advice. b) They
went on to advise the parents that they did not have to allow
their children to be interviewed, but if they did, “you have the
right to be present.” 17. a) By submerging any bitter feelings
and sounding a conciliatory tone, they said, Mr. Gore could
help reduce the festering tensions between Republicans and
Democrats who cling to the belief that their candidate should
rightfully claim the White House. b) I believe things happen
for a reason, and I hope the long wait of the last five weeks
will heighten a desire to move beyond the bitterness and
partisanship of the past. 18. a) This embrace included an
emphatic rejection of denial or minimization of the Holocaust.
b) The Florida manual recount process is being used to
eliminate any possibility of an orderly, rational, and final end
to the election, and to deny the protections of the Constitution
not only to the parties who brought the case, but to all
Americans. 19. a) Computer can execute various commands.
b) My dad likes to command us. 20. a) We have reached to an
extreme turn. b) I had to turn around to hear the conversation
of my friends. 21. a) I go up the stairs. b) Everyone has the
ups and downs of life.
Compounding (Composition)
Word-composition is another type of word-building.
That is when new words are produced by combining two or
more stems. This type of word-building is one of the three
most productive types in Modern English; the other two are
conversion and affixation. Compounds, though certainly fewer
in quantity than derived or root words, still represent one of the
most typical and specific features of English word-structure.
The structural unity of a compound word depends
upon: a) the unity of stress, b) solid or hyphenated spelling,
c) semantic unity, d) unity of morphological and syntactical
functioning. These are characteristic features of compound
words in all languages. For English compounds some of these
factors are not very reliable. As a rule English compounds
have one uniting stress (usually on the first component), e. g.
hard-cover, best-seller. We can also have a double stress in an
English compound, with the main stress on the first component
and with a secondary stress on the second component, e. g.
blood-vessel. The third pattern of stresses is two level stresses,
e. g. snow-white, sky-blue. The third pattern is easily mixed up
with word-groups unless they have solid or hyphenated
spelling. Spelling in English compounds is not very reliable as
well because they can have different spelling even in the same
text, e. g. war-ship, blood-vessel can be spelt through a hyphen
and also with a break, insofar, underfoot can be spelt solidly
and with a break. All the more so that there has appeared in
Modern English a special type of compound words which are
called block compounds, they have one uniting stress but are
spelt with a break, e. g. air piracy, cargo module, coin change,
penguin suit, etc.
Classification of English compounds:
1. According to the parts of speech compounds are
subdivided into: a) nouns, such as: baby-moon, globe-trotter,
b) adjectives, such as: free-for-all, power-happy, c) verbs, such
as: to honey-moon, to baby-sit, to henpeck, d) adverbs, such as:
downdeep, headfirst, e) prepositions, such as: into, within,
f) numerals, such as: sixty-five.
2. According to their structure compounds are
subdivided into: a) compound words proper consisting of
simple stems, e. g. bookshelf, snowwhite, tip-top;
b) derivational compounds, where besides the stems we have
affixes, e. g. chain-smoker, ear-minded, hydro-skimmer,
c) compound words consisting of three or more stems, e. g.
d) compound-shortened words, e. g. T-shirt, motocross,
3. According to the way components are joined
together compounds are divided into neutral, morphological
and syntactical (see Table 4).
Neutral (or juxtapositional) compounds are formed by
joining together two stems without any linking elements, by a
mere juxtaposition of two stems, as in blackboard, sunflower,
bedroom, shopwindow. There are three subtypes of neutral
compounds, depending on the structure of the constituent
stems: а) simple neutral compounds consist of simple affixless
stems : classroom, school-boy; b) derivational and derived
compounds have affixes in their structure: music-lover, blueeyed, film-goer; c) contracted compounds have a contracted or
shortened stem in their structure: TV-set, V-day, H-bag (handbag).
Morphological compounds are few in number. This
type is non-productive. Here two compounding stems are
combined by a linking element: vowels “o” or “i” or the
consonant “s”, e. g. Anglo-Saxon, statesman, craftsman,
In syntactical compounds we see segments of speech
such as articles, prepositions adverbs: good-for-nothing,
mother-in-law, sit-at-home.
Table 4 ˗- Сlassification of compounds ассording to the
linking elements
e. g.
e. g. AngloSaxon,
e. g. good-fornothing,
e. g.
e. g. musiclover,
e. g
4. According to the correlations of the separate
meanings of the constituent parts and the actual meaning of the
compound we distinguish three groups (see Table 5):
a) Non-idiomatic compounds. Here the meaning can be
described as the sum of their constituent parts: dancing-room,
bedroom, class-room.
b) Idiomatic compounds. Here one of the components
or both has altered its meaning: a blackboard is not necessarily
black, football is not a ball but a game, a chatterbox is not a
box but a person, and a ladykiller kills no one but is a man
who fascinates women.
c) Highly idiomatic compounds whose meaning do not
correspond to the separate meanings of their parts. Here the
process of deducing the meaning is impossible, we must know
the translation of the word: a ladybird is not a bird, but an
insect, a tallboy is not a boy but a piece of furniture, a
bluestocking is a person.
Table 5 ˗- Сlassification of compounds ассording to the
correlation of meaning
e. g. dancingroom,
e. g.
e. g. ladybird,
5. According to the relations between the components
compound words fall into: a) subordinative compounds where
one of the components is the semantic and the structural centre
and the second component is subordinate; these subordinative
relations can be different: with comparative relations, e. g.
honey-sweet, with limiting relations, e. g. knee-deep, with
emphatic relations, e. g. dog-cheap, with objective relations,
e. g. gold-rich, with cause relations, e. g. love-sick, with space
relations, e. g. top-heavy, with time relations, e. g. springfresh, with subjective relations, e. g. foot-sore, etc.
b) coordinative compounds where both components are
semantically independent. It includes such compounds when
one person (object) has two functions, e. g. secretarystenographer, woman-doctor, etc. Such compounds are called
“additive”. This group includes also compounds formed by
means of reduplication, e. g. fifty-fifty, no-no, and also
compounds formed with the help of rhythmic stems
(reduplication combined with sound interchange) e. g. crisscross, walkie-talkie.
Exercise 7. Pick out compounds in the following
sentences, define their structural type and state to what part of
speech they belong.
1. The girl stared at him, dropping a slice of bread-andbutter in her emotions. 2. Then he shows his annoyance if he
has not got a fresh handkerchief. 3. Love is only a temporary
transient state, which is lost altogether when the man in love
turns into a husband. All this is very the same as the spring
love-singing with blackbirds. 4. We’ve some plain, blunt
things to say and we expect the same kind of answers, not a lot
of double-talk. 5. On the dining-room he found a note from his
absent-minded wife: “I have gone out...”. 6. If I was a pure dogooder, my ordinary acts would never be wrong. 7. In the next
few days, every time I look at it, the old prayer-book words
sprang into my mind. 8. I had planned a special day for
Andrew, Jamie and Lisa, and my mother-in-law who was
visiting us from England, as she did every day. 9. When they
had fallen into a profound sleep, the good-for-nothing rose up,
took the stone, came to the door, and, when he wished it to
open, it began to creak out: “The guest has stolen the wishingstone”. 10. It was an experience never-to-be-forgotten; it was a
thrill to march in the funeral procession of our then president.
11. There are floor-to-ceiling bookshelves along one wall,
pretty porcelain lamps grace two tables, skirted in pale green
silk. 12. My father was good-looking, normal, healthy man,
and when he was younger he must have sought out female
company. 13. In other words, the states in each bloc do not
present, in the eyes of the other bloc, that peace-loving
character which, according to the Charter, 14 would qualify
them for United Nations membership. 15. But he also made the
world because he is a music-lover. 16. While staying in the
house, I witnessed numerous times how badly she treated her
mother-in-law. 17. Sheet metalworkers make, install, and
maintain many sheet metal components of wind turbines.
18. Thus, the Father and the Son are here with this life-giving
Spirit, who is the consummation of the Triune God and the
totality of the Triune God. 19. “Life-or-death cliff-hangers,
thrilling cat-and-mouse maneuvers, romance, religion, science,
murder, mysticism, architecture, and action. 20. Entirely in its
author’s image: direct, unpretentious, chatty, feet-on-theground. Sometimes is shockingly so. 21. Hoffman is one of the
best pens nowadays following in the bestselling footsteps of
Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs and Karin Slaughter. 22. The
old shoemaker looked up, and spoke sanely enough. 23. With
the skill of a veteran, Mavis swayed out of the path of a pair of
long-legged models. 24. The sweater was too big for me, as
was the silk T-shirt. 25. For environmental and safety reasons,
it is recommended that the TV-set is not left in standby when
unused. 26. She peeled off a glove and threw it deliberately
into the wastepaper-basket. 27. Rusty-red siding tracks
glowered from deep within tangles of sunflowers and thorny
weeds; shards from a hundred broken bottles twinkled in the
afternoon sun. 28. Every second house in Floral Heights had a
bedroom precisely like this. 29. When at nine o'clock
punctually he went into the classroom, he saw written on the
blackboard two large letters - M. S. 30. The blue shoulder
V-bag Pru let him carry for her is heavier than he would have
thought; she must have packed bricks. 31. Every tool in the
history of woodworking has always been dependent on the
craftsman who wields it. 32. But Mark looked again at the
handiwork on the table before speaking. 33. The vow which
Clive had uttered, never to share bread with his mother-in-law,
or sleep under the same roof with her, was broken on the very
next day. 34. No waste his time with day-to-day routine. 35. In
the process the aliveness of here-and-now moments was lost.
36. The sportsman must remove any suite, uniform, or leotard
his game is wearing. 37. The copper handicraft units are
involved in the production various types of kitchen utensils,
metal ornament and other items. 38. The injury panorama was
more varied among patients who had gotten caught by the
T-bar. 39. The G-man picked up on the New York accent
immediately. 40. All the assistants wear long striped ticking
aprons, and look like they’re genuine French cheese-maker.
41. But I was the better goalkeeper after each session with
Coach Mulqueen. 42. Dr. Van Helsing had taken the key of the
hall-door from the bunch. 43. It seemingly had driven the
snow-clouds from us, for, with only occasional bursts, the
snow fell. 44. He’s a businessman with a former criminal
conviction. 45. White-crested waves beat madly on the level
sands and rushed up the shelving cliffs, others broke over the
piers, and with their spume swept the lanthorns of the
lighthouses which rise from the end of either pier of Whitby
Harbour. 46. The chart is to read in a counter-clockwise
direction. 47. We looked at a special X-ray called a CAT-scan
which uses a computer to show things an ordinary X-ray can’t
see. 48. Ann put the oilcan down and stood beside it. 49. So
finally we decided that we would take it to the Heath, and
when we heard a policeman coming, would leave it where he
could not fail to find it; we would then seek our way home as
quickly as we could.
Exercise 8. Define the structural type of compounds in
bold type.
1. You have to tamp it good and tight with sandbags so
the blast goes against the column and not out into the parking
garage around the column. 2. My tongue thinks it has flocked
wallpaper, I am biting the inside of my mouth so much. 3. It
was such a big cheesebread. 4. Tyler worked part-time as a
movie projectionist. 5. At home, you will sometimes wake up
in your dark bed with the terror you have fallen asleep in the
booth and missed a changeover. 6. What I am is a recall
campaign coordinator, I tell the single-serving friend sitting
next to me, but I am working toward a career as a dishwasher.
7. Still, everywhere, there is the squint of a five-day headache.
8. Everyone gets a name tag, and people you have met every
Tuesday night for a year, they come at you, handshake hand
ready and their eyes on your name tag. 9. Leaving filthy
handprint of grease and floor dirt among the wallpaper
flowers. 10. This week, it is little plastic clip that holds the
rubber blade on your windshield wipers. 11. I hear Tyler’s
words come out of my boss, Mister Boss with his midlife
spread and family photo on his desk and his dream about early
retirement and winters spent at a trailer-park hookup in some
Arizona desert. 12. I smell gasoline on my hands. 13. Do you
have nitroglycerin? 14. On a chill-and-drill assignment, you
spray the lock on a pay telephone or a parking meter or a
newspaper box. 15. From the bus, I can see the floor-to-ceiling
windows on the third floor of my office building are blown
out, and inside a fireman in a dirty yellow slicker is whacking
at a burnt panel in the suspended ceiling. 16. The mechanic
calls back over his shoulder, “What’s our best time to date for
a cut-and-run?” 17. You take the population of vehicle in the
field (A) and multiply it by the probable rate of failure (B),
then multiply the result by the average cost of an out-of-court
settlement (C). 18. Then add glycerin drop-by-drop with an
eye dropper. 19. Three weeks without sleep, and everything
becomes an out-of-body experience. 20. I wanted red-andblue Tuinal bullet capsules, lipstick-red Seconals. 21. Then he
told me to watch at one side of the churchyard whilst he
would watch at the other.
Exercise 9. Сomment on the meanings of the
compounds. Discriminate between idiomatic and nonidiomatic compounds.
1. I’ve been made a laughing-stock. 2. You will find
your shorts in the bottom drawer of the tallboy. 3. She was the
greatest chatterbox in the group. 4. He mastered the big newmodel tractor-trailers without difficulty. 5. A couple of city
policemen chatted together by the entrance. They were ill-atease with their assignment. 6. He spoke as if he was all by
himself, out in the woods, picking johny-jump-ups... 7. She
stopped shouting for a minute, and then the waterworks began.
8. He was coming back for the dress-rehearsal and the firstnight. 9. Ted took a look into the leather shopping-bag on the
dresser. 10. “Let’s have a nightcap at Benno’s”, he said.
11. Lady Veronica made a bee-line for her daughters to assure
them of her maternal love. 12. A nail-biting, can’t-put-it-down
read ... tightly constructed and thoroughly gripping. 13. A
pulse-quickening, brain-teasing adventure. 14. A heart-racing
thriller. 15. A pulse-pounding, edge-of-your-seat thriller...
16. The reader is assaulted by a rich, down-in-the-dirt, up-inthe skies prose full of portents, bold metaphors, great beauty.
17. His best thriller yet ... the action unfolds at an adrenalinedraining pace ... 18. A heart-thumping, stay-up-late novel...
wild, unputdownable and outrageous... brilliant. 19. Utterly
read-in-one-day, forget-where-you-are-on-the-tube gripping.
20. It’s a one-sit thriller. 21. It is a huge eye-opener, and will
make the reader look at cancer in a whole new way. 22. A real
back-of-the-neck hair-raiser. 23. Billie Letts has a fresh and
engaging voice, and her remarkable heroine, Novalee Nation,
leads the reader on a never-to-be-forgotten journey.
24. Chicago lawyer Turow’s first novel is a genuine, classy,
four-star suspense novel. 25. One night, in delirium, I fancied
that you were corning to kill me, and early next morning I
spent my last farthing on buying a revolver from that good-fornothing fellow; I did not mean to let you do it. 26. Lady
Orkney, her sister-in-law, is come to town on the occasion, and
has been to see her, and behaved herself with great humanity.
27. I – ah – I don’t set up to be a lady-killer, but I do own that
she’s as devilish fond as she can be. 28. Before we eat,
though," someone else said, "we're going to get roaring drunk
and play a little touch football. 29. He wouldn't hesitate to use
an innocent, either, to trap or blackmail. 30. There are
superstitious beliefs that it is unlucky to kill a ladybird and that
the verse will make them fly away. 31. A bluestocking is an
educated, intellectual woman. 32. But when I look at you, dear
lady – your character is so truly angelic; let me kiss your little
snow-white hand. 33. Mrs. Westenra has got an idea that sleepwalkers always go out on roofs of houses and along the edges
of cliffs. 34. I’m buying a waffle-maker, obviously.
35. Daredevil clearly has times of doubt and crises of faith.
36. Volleyball like tennis and a few other sports is a noncontact sport. 37. She went to the door three times after the
doorbell has rung and has not found anyone there. 38. I
happened to meet a cowboy who was out of the same errand,
and made friends with him. 39. Out-of-town shopping centers
ruin rural life.
It should be mentioned that the notion of wordformation excludes semantic word-building as well as
shortening, sound- and stress-interchange which traditionally
are referred to minor ways of word-formation.
In the process of communication words and wordgroups can be shortened. The causes of shortening can be
linguistic and extra-linguistic. By extra-linguistic causes
changes in the life of people are meant. In Modern English a
lot of new acronyms, abbreviations, blends, initials are formed
because the pace of life is increasing and it becomes necessary
to give more and more information for the shortest period of
time. There are also linguistic causes of abbreviating words
and word-groups, such as the demand of rhythm, which is
satisfied in English by monosyllabic words. Borrowings from
other languages became shortened after assimilation in
English. Here there is modification of form on the basis of
analogy, e. g. the Latin borrowing fanaticus is shortened to fan
on the analogy with native words: man, pan, tan etc.
The process of shortening lies in clipping a part of
word; the result is a new lexical unit. But this process goes
beyond words; many word-groups also become shortened in
the process of communication. Therefore, the term “shortening
of words” is to be considered as conventional, as it involves
the shortening of both words and word-groups. There are two
different ways of shortening: contraction (clipping) and
abbreviation (initial shortening) (see Table 6).
According to the first a new word is made from a
syllable of the original word. Clipping is shortening or
reducing long words. This is a common phenomon in English
which can be proved by the following examples: information is
clipped to info, advertisement to advert or ad, influenza to flu,
telephone to phone. The classification of clipping:
1. Final clipping (apocope). The omitting of the final
part of the word: doc (doctor), mag (magazine), Nick
2. Initial clipping (apheresis). The omitting of the fore
part of the word. plane (airplane), van (caravan), phone
3. Medial clipping (syncope). The omitting of the
middle part of the word: fancy (fantasy), specs (spectacles),
maths (mathematics).
4. Mixed clipping, where the fore and the final parts
of the words are clipped: flu (influenza), tec (detective), fridge
The second way consists in making a new word from
the initial letters of a word group. The term “abbreviation”,
which is now quite widespread, was coined by Bell
Laboratories in 1943. Though “initialism” is an older word,
attested from 1899 according to the Oxford English
Dictionary, it wasn’t widely used until the 1960s. Primarily,
the word “initialism” referred to any abbreviation formed of
initials, irrespective of pronunciation. Initialisms existed even
in the ancient world - for example, SPQR (Senatus Populusque
Romanus) e. g. SPQR - the official title of the Roman Empire.
Abbreviations are subdivided into five groups:
1. Acronyms which are read in accordance within the
reading rules as though they were ordinary words: NATO
(North Atlantic Treaty Organization), UNO (United Nations
2. Alphabetic abbreviations in which letters get their
full alphabetic pronunciation and a full stress: USA, BBC, MP.
Alphabetic abbreviations sometimes concern names of famous
people: G.B.S. (George Bernard Shaw), B.B. (Brigitte Bardot).
3. Compound abbreviations in which the first
constituent is a letter and the second part is a complete word:
A-bomb (atomic-bomb), L-driver (learner – driver). In
compound abbreviation also may be clipped one or both
constituents: Interpol (international police).
4. Graphic abbreviations which can be found in texts
for economy of space. They are pronounced as the
corresponding unabbreviated words: Mr., Mrs., m (mile), ltd
(limited). There are several semantic groups of graphic
abbreviations: a) days of the week, e. g. Mon – Monday, Tue –
Tuesday, etc. b) names of months, e. g. Apr – April, Aug –
August, etc. c) names of counties in UK, e. g. Yorks –
Yorkshire, Berks –Berkshire, etc. d) names of states in USA,
e. g. Ala – Alabama, Alas – Alaska, etc. e) names of address,
e. g. Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., etc. f) military ranks, e. g. capt. –
captain, col. – colonel, sgt – sergeant, etc. g) scientific degrees,
e. g. B.A. – Bachelor of Arts, D.M. – Doctor of Medicine.
(Sometimes in scientific degrees we have abbreviations of
Latin origin, e. g., M.B. – Medicinae Baccalaurus), h) units of
time, length, weight, e. g. f/ft –foot/feet, sec. – second, in. –
inch, mg. – milligram, etc. The reading of some graphical
abbreviations depends on the context, e. g. “m” can be read as:
male, married, masculine, metre, mile, million, minute, “l.p.”
can be read as long-playing, low pressure.
5. Latin abbreviations can be read as separate letters
or be substituted by the English equivalents: e. g. (for
example), cf. (compare), i. e. (that is).
Abbreviations are widely used in Internet
communication: AFAIK - As far as I know; AFK – away from
keyboard; CU – see you; F2F – face to face (in person); IMO –
in my opinion; PM – private message; POV – point of view,
Table 6 ˗- Ways of shortening
contraction (clipping)
abbreviation (initial
final clipping
e. g. doc (doctor), mag
e. g. NATO (North
Atlantic Treaty
UNO (United Nations
initial clipping (apheresis):
e. g. plane (airplane),
phone (telephone)
e. g. USA, G.B.S.
(George Bernard
medial clipping (syncope):
e. g. fancy (fantasy), specs
e. g. A-bomb (atomicbomb),
L-driver (learner driver)
mixed clipping:
e. g. flu (influenza), tec
latin abbreviations:
e. g. cf. (compare),
i. e. (that is),
e. g. (for example)
graphic abbreviations:
e. g. Mr., ltd (limited)
Don’t confuse shortening of words in written speech
and in the sphere of oral intercourse. Shortening of words in
written speech results in graphical abbreviations which are, in
fact, signs representing words and word-groups of high
frequency of occurrence in various manifestations of human
The meaning remains unchanged after shortening. As a
result it produces words belonging to the same part of speech
as original words. For the most part nouns are influenced by
shortening, e. g. prof is a noun and professor is also a noun.
Mostly we can find a shortened word in the vocabulary
together with the longer word from which it is derived and
usually has the same lexical meaning differing only in emotive
charge and stylistic reference.
Sometimes shortening affects the spelling of the word,
e. g. “c” can be substituted by “k” before “e” to preserve
pronunciation, e. g. mike (microphone), Coke (coca-cola) etc.
The same rule is observed in the following cases: fax
(facsimile), teck (technical college), trank (tranquilizer) etc.
The final consonants in the shortened forms are substituted by
letters characteristic of native English words.
Exercise 10. Comment on the formation of the clipped
and abbreviated words.
1. My job where my boss got on my computer and
fiddled with my DOS execute commands. 2. Walter
Winterbottom had spent the last few years trying to warn the
FA’s bigwigs that his team was falling behind. 3. Martin Peters
became one of Ramsey’s most valuable mids. 4. What we’ll do
is send Marla’s mom some choco and probably some
fruitcakes. 5. It was a letter from my new g.f. from Ohio – just
a simple letter. 6. The Intercontinental Cup was jointly
organised with CONMEBOL between the Champions League
and the Copa Libertadores winners. 7. Because everyone who
intends to become a lawyer is usually required by a governing
body such a governmental bar licensing agency to pass a bar
exam. 8. She left Brindisi on Saturday at five p.m., so you can
wait patiently. 9. Mr. Fogg had to furl his sails and use more
steam-power, so as not to get out of his course. 10. He could
easily decide whether England is going to win or not, but
missed this chance – despite the fact that goalie could make
nothing, ball kept his way right to a cross. 11. Killing Floor is
the first book in the internationally pop series about Jack
Reacher, hero of the new blockbuster movie starring Tom
Cruise. 12. It presents Reacher for the first time, as the tough
ex-military cop of no fixed abode: a righter of wrongs, the
perfect action hero. 13. Jack Reacher jumps off a bus and
walks fourteen miles down a country road into Margrave,
Georgia. 14. Stevenson’s voice came over the intercom asking
for Roscoe. 15. They emerged from St. Michael’s chester
Square. 16. The stereo was still there, the TV was still there.
17. Her shoes were silly T-straps with four-inch heels. 18. Of
Nicholas and Cara to the Zoo and the Costume Museum and
suitable films by their grandmother. 19. I wrote to the MP
about it, said who was going to get the place cleaned up, he
said it was the responsibility of the County Council. 20. This
product was marked with a manufacturer’s logo. 21. Then
they’re trucking it north and west, up to the big cities, LA,
Chicago, Detroit. 22. Next to the TV-set was a stereo. 23. He
could easily decide whether ham is going to win or not, but
missed this chance – despite the fact that goalkeeper could
make nothing, ball kept his way right to a cross! 24. Martin
Peters became one of Ramsey’s most valuable players when
Scholes caught flu. 25. Jenny-May Butler smiled and beamed
from the TV into the living room of every home around the
country. 26. No CCTV was available to show her last
movements. 27. Jack Ruttle trailed slowly behind an HGV
along the N69. 28. CCTV showed him taking $30 out of an
ATM on O’Connell Street at 3.08 a.m. on a Friday night.
29. After Sandy Shortt’s no-show he had spent the entire day
checking B&Bs. 30. – How did you get my number? – Caller
ID. 31. Foynes was the centre of the aviation world, with air
traffic between the US and Europe. 32. My M.O. is gaping
void (‘Sex’), coupled with my day job (‘Cash’). 33. The CD
was a nice guy. 34. Born in America but educated in the UK,
he has spent most of his life shuttling between the two
countries. 35. Sure, that means less time watching TV,
internet- surfing, going out, or whatever. 36. The photo had
been taken the X-mas before last, just six months before he
went missing. 37. He looked like he had just walked out of the
college that very day, in his jeans and T-shirt. 38. Anyway,
yeah, I can see gaping void being a ‘product’ one day. Books,
T-shirts and whatnot. 39. Their B-plans having been washed
away by vodka and tonics years ago. 40. That was not what
Mrs. Spencer had said; neither had the child tumbled out of the
buggy nor had Matthew done anything astonishing. 41. I
expected Mr. Burton to be a wise old man with a head of wild
grey hair. 42. Scathach House is the office of Dr. Gregory
Burton. 43. Eleven a.m., he tried calling her mobile number for
the fifth time. 44. Sure, maybe he’s more inherently talented,
more adopt at networking, etc. 45. I’m not just saying that for
the usual reason i. e., because I think your idea will fail.
46. Why choose to sell a ‘mere product’ (i. e. chimney pieces)?
47. Worrying about ‘Commercial vs. Artistic’ is a complete
waste of time.
Exercise 11. Pick out all the abbreviations from the
sentences given below. Comment on their formation.
1. BBC is a British public service broadcasting
statutory corporation. 2. MP tends to form parliamentary
groups with members of the same political party. 3. UN is an
intergovernmental organization created in 1945 to promote
international cooperation. 4. The TUC is a national trade union
centre, a federation of trade unions in England and Wales,
representing the majority of trade unions. 5. The UK is located
in the Western Europe, on the British Islands, including the
northern one-six of the island of Ireland. 6. PBS is the most
prominent provider of television programs to public television
stations in the United States. 7. Standard CDs have a diameter
of 120 millimeters and can hold up to 80 minutes of
uncompressed audio. 8. ABC has broadcast many programs
that have contributed significantly to American popular
culture. 9. ATMs often provide one of the best possible official
exchange rates for foreign travellers, and are also widely used
for this purpose. 10. CBC is the oldest existing broadcasting
network in Canada, first established in its present form on
November 2, 1936. 11. CNN was the first channel to provide
24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news
television channel in the United States. 12. They embraced
DVD because it produces superior moving pictures and sound,
provides superior data lifespan, and can be interactive.
13. IBM manufactures and markets computer hardware and
software, and offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting
services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to
nanotechnology. 14. The NBC is an American commercial
broadcast television and radio network. 15. There are 23,000
local organizations recognized by the National PTA in the
United States. 16. The ACT originally consisted of four tests:
English, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Natural Sciences.
17. SA was formerly developed, published, and scored by the
Educational Testing Service which still administers the exam.
18. The Y.C.L. recognizes the Communist Party as the party
for socialism in the United States and operates autonomously
as the Party's youth wing. 19. In 2012, the Interpol General
Secretariat employed a staff of 703 representing 98 member
Exercise 12. Comment on the formation of the clipped
and abbreviated words.
1. NYPD, New York County District Attorney’s
Office, for their advice and assistance in matters of
investigation. 2. Fortunately, by the time I began college we
had been in California long enough to establish residency, I
went to UCLA as a journalism major. 3. The camera switched
to the CNN anchor. 4. The point is this – it is a terrible thing to
say, but if Andrea Cavanaugh had been sexually molested, Rob
Westerfield would have been out of prison long ago on DNA
evidence. 5. The L. A. Time is probably going to make an
offer. 6. Finally we were in Joan’s SUV.7. It’s a previously
owned BMW that I bought two years ago, the first decent car I
have ever had. 8. No money had been allotted by CIE, the
railways company, for repainting. 9. We women are the ones
who have to suffer with IVF injections and morning sickness
and epidurals and childbirth and C-sections and breastfeeding
bleeding nipples. 10. Oh, of course it is – I forgot to look at the
caller ID. 11. She is the biggest star in the UK right now.
12. That was quite a night, Arabella told her reflection in the
sitting-room mirror as she savoured a cup of PG Tips. 13. We
have found new CCTV evidence. 14. We have mints – a
selection box. M&S. 15. She had love to have been here today,
but sadly she left London yesterday for a new life in LA.
16. When Eddie got flu and his mother would not let him out,
Foxy Dunne offered to do the chore. 17. The woman handed
over her cheque and showed her ID card to reassure them she
was genuine, and within seconds she was gone. 18. He washed
it down with a can of Coke which tasted too sweet, the bubbles
too large, sharp almost. 19. I could hear faint street noises and
sometimes music from the apartment of my new next-door
neighbor, an aficionado of hard rock who sometimes played
his CDs at ear-splitting volume. 20. By midnight she had filled
several cardboard boxes with unwanted gifts, unread books,
unworn clothes and unwatched DVDs. 21. The skydiver uses
the pilot chute to initiate the opening sequence. 22. Britain
also buys a liquefied natural gas via a tanker terminal in Kent.
23. He simply took out full-page ads in the marketing press
and waited.
Exercise 13. Form clipped and abbreviated words and
comment on their formation.
1. A small light-emitting diode display activated near
the base of the trap. 2. My money order was, and still is, to
just have a normal life. 3. The creative director was a nice
guy. 4. In five years, all you’ll see are these babies – High
Speed Civil Transport. 5. What does Large Hadrons
Collider stand for?’ Langdon asked, trying not to sound
nervous. 6. ‘They canceled the Superconducting Super
Collider. 7. Ask yourself why the United States Christian
Coalition is the most influential lobby against scientific
progress in the world. 8. Isn’t antimatter what fuels the United
States Ship Enterprise. 9. A kiloton was equal to 1,000 metric
tons of trinitrotoluene. 10. And yet the room bristled with
high-tech gear – banks of computers, faxes, electronic maps of
the Vatican complex, and televisions turned to Cable News
Network 11. Your cameras don’t have Global Positioning
System locators on them? 12. The British Broadcasting
Corporation run a preliminary story yesterday to mediocre
response. 13. ‘That’s the zeta particle’, she said, pointing to a
faint track that was almost invisible. 14. His paper. His phone.
His electronic mail. 15. The voice on the line was raspy, with
a Middle-East accent. 16. Diagramma number one.
Diagramma number one. Diagramma number one. All
scientific. All conversion. 17. Langdon buttoned his tweed
jacket against the cold. I’m in Australia, he thought.
18. Perhaps you forget, miss Vetra, as soon as I report your
father’s murder, there will be an investigation of CERN.
19. Langdon had never seen Saint Peter’s from the air.
20. Why wasn’t I trying to do something more easy for markets
to digest id est, cutie-pie greeting cards or whatever. 21. Some
to do with business, some to do with art, et cetera.
22. Worrying about “Commercial versus Artistic” is a
complete waste of time. 23. He squinted at his digital clock. It
was 5.18 ante meridiem.
Reduplication is a morphological process that involves
the repetition of all or part of a word. These parts of words are
referred to as roots or stems. In full reduplication, the entire
word is repeated without any phonetic changes, for example,
‘So I would say that he and Mr DeLay are friends, but not
friends-friends, if you will’. This group of reduplicated
compounds is called reduplicative compounds proper. Their
constituents are identical in their form.
The second type is called gradational or partial
reduplication. Only a segment is duplicated in partial
reduplication. Slang words such as super-duper and razzledazzle express extra meaning using partial reduplication. This
is identified as partial because the -s from super becomes a -d,
and the -r from razzle also becomes a -d, meaning that the
whole segment is not copied. The segment that is duplicated
may occur at either the beginning or the end of the word. Also
we can come across a variation of the root vowel or consonant,
e. g. This shilly-shallying with the question is absurd. This type
of word building is greatly simplified in modern English by the
vast number of monosyllables: chit-chat, riff-raff, etc. Also one
should distinguish rhyme compounds. Here the constituents are
joined to rhyme, e. g. Ronaldinho beats holie-goalie and ball
falls into the net behind Poland’s devastated goalkeeper.
Morphological processes change the stem of a word in order to
adjust its meaning for communicative purposes. Stylistically
speaking, most words made by reduplication represent
informal groups such as slang and colloquialisms. Some
languages use the process largely, some moderately, and some
not at all.
Exercise 14. Pick out reduplicative compounds,
comment on their constituent parts.
1. ‘Uh, no worries. I can handle the Oz Full Monty. I
mean, not handle-candle, like ‘hands to flesh’ handle’. 2. The
first rule of project Mayhem: Don’t ask questions about Project
Mayhem. ‘Yeah-Yeah’, he nodded. 3. No, I mean... Do you
like him or do you like-him-like-him? 4. Well, between witch
work and work-work, I just don't have any time any more. 5. Is
he like a businessman-businessman? Or is this like when I used
to sell lemonade and call myself a businessman? 6. Although
Luke did this awesome dive off the high board, which wasn’t
really a dive-dive, it was more like Will Farrell falling out of a
plane. 7. There’s a guy who collects fans. These are not sports
fans but fans-fans. 8. “I didn’t mean go-somewhere-gosomewhere”, I said, remembering that he surely thought I
made a mistake, and after all, last time the two of us had been
alone we’d been all over each other. 9. Ronaldinho’s goal-goal
falls into the net behind England’s devastated goalkeeper.
10. She either died or divorced you, so it was a fifty-fifty
guess. 11. We kept chasing him, all the way to the end of the
block, then into a sort of never-never land where there were a
lot of railroad tracks. 12. Mr. Sloane murmured something
close to her ear. 13. Burke launched into British social
chitchat. 14. He didn’t like me calling him ‘sir’ – we were
supposed to be buddy-buddies. 15. The other chair was
occupied by a lovely creature, a really tip-top Ambrose
McEvoy. 16. Already his name was whispered in connection
with the All England ping-pong championship. 17. My cold
desire is to hear the boom-boom of your heart. 18. I worry a lot
about the bling-bling materialism, the rabid consumerism, that
pervades many of our inner-city areas. 19. Last point: going
topless on the rampage is an absolute no-no. 20. I think that we
will be waving bye bye to them. 21. Frankly speaking I don’t
like her new dress, it’s so-so. 22. He was asked to minimize
chit-chat and keep the troops moving. 23. The report is just a
lot of corporate flim-flam. 24. But there's really not much time
to dilly-dally on the feet. 25. That's fiddle-faddle! 26. Dad's
smile was giving Johnny the heebie-jeebies , but he was in too
deep to care. 27. You could have approached us without all the
hocus-pocus, couldn't you? 28. Dropping out and all the
mysticism was really mumbo-jumbo. 29. He tells me he can't
be bothered with all that "lovey-dovey" stuff. 30. The little car,
driven pell-mell across the fields, pulled up to a stop where the
narrow trail up the slope began. 31. He says: "We don't want
thousands of people wandering around here, willy-nilly.
32. Chicago slips effortlessly from stage to screen without
losing any of its original razzle-dazzle.
Sound and Stress Interchange
Both sound- and stress-interchange may be considered
as ways of forming words only diachronically, because in
Modern English not a single word can be coined by changing
the root-vowel of a word or by shifting the place of the stress.
Sound-interchange as well as stress-interchange indeed has
turned into means of distinguishing primarily between words
of different parts of speech and as such is rather wide-spread in
Modern English, e. g. to sing – song, to live – life, strong –
strength, etc. It also distinguishes between different wordforms, e. g. man – men, wife – wives, to know – knew, to
leave – left, etc.
Sound interchange was productive in Old English and
can occur in other Indo-European languages. The causes of
sound interchange can be different. It can be the consequence
of Ancient Ablaut which cannot be explained by the phonetic
laws during the period of the language development known to
scientists, e. g. to strike – stroke, to sing – song, etc. It can be
also the result of Ancient Umlaut or vowel mutation which
comes from palatalizing the root vowel because of the front
vowel in the syllable following the root (regressive
assimilation), e. g. hot – to heat (hotian), blood – to bleed
(blodian), etc.
Sound-interchange is divided into two groups: vowelinterchange and consonant-interchange. With the help of
vowel-interchange we differentiate parts of speech, e. g. full –
to fill, food – to feed, blood – to bleed, etc. In some cases
vowel-interchange is connected with affixation, e. g. long –
length, strong – strength, etc. Intransitive verbs and the
corresponding transitive ones with a causative meaning also
display vowel-interchange, e. g. to rise – to raise, to sit – to
set, to lie – to lay, to fall – to fell.
The type of consonant-interchange typical of Modern
English is the interchange of a voiceless fricative consonant in
a noun and the corresponding voiced consonant in the
corresponding verb, e. g. use – to use, mouth – to mouth, house
– to house, advice – to advise, etc.
There are some particular cases of consonantinterchange: [k] – [t∫]: to speak – speech, to break – breach; [s]
– [d]: defence – to defend; offence – to offend; [s] – [t]: evidence –
evident, importance – important, etc. Consonant-interchange may
be connected with vowel-interchange, e. g. bath – to bathe,
breath – to breathe, life – to live, etc.
Stress interchange can be mainly met in verbs and
nouns of Romanic origin: nouns have the stress on the first
syllable and verbs on the last syllable, e. g. `accent – to
ac`cent. This phenomenon is explained in such way: French
verbs and nouns had different structure when they were
borrowed into English; verbs had one syllable more than the
corresponding nouns. When these borrowings were assimilated
in English the stress in them was shifted to the previous
syllable (the second from the end). Later on the last unstressed
syllable in verbs borrowed from French was dropped (the same
as in native verbs) and after that the stress in verbs was on the
last syllable while in nouns it was on the first syllable.
Therefore we have such pairs in English as: to af`fix –`affix, to
con`flict – `conflict, to ex`port –`export, to im`port – `import,
to ex`tract – `extract, to con`duct – `conduct, to pre`sent –
`present, to con`trast – `contrast, to in`crease – `increase, etc.
Because of stress interchange we have also vowel interchange
in such words because vowels are pronounced differently in
stressed and unstressed positions.
Exercise 15. Give pairs corresponding to the following
nouns, verbs and adjectives.
Abide, absent, abstract, accent, advice, attribute, bathe,
believe, bite, blood, breathe, breed, broad, calve, choose,
clothe, conduct, contest, contrast, deep, devise, excuse, export,
feed, fill, foot, frequent, gild, glaze, halve, increase, house,
knit, live, loose, lose, practise, present, prove, record, relieve,
serve, speak, strike, strong, use, wide, worthy, wreathe.
Sound Imitation (Onomatopoeia)
Onomatopoeia (sound-imitation, echoism) is the
notion that implicates an action or a thing by a more or less
exact reproduction of a natural sound associated with it
(babble, crow, twitter). Words coined by this interesting
type of word-building are made by imitating different kinds
of sounds that may be produced by animals, birds, insects,
human beings and inanimate objects. It is of some interest
that sounds produced by the same kind of animal are. They
are often represented by quite different sound groups in
different languages. For example, English dogs bark (cf. the
Ukr. гавкати) or howl (cf. the Ukr. вити). The English
cock cries cock-a-doodle-doo (cf. the Ukr. ку-ка-рі-ку). In
England ducks quack and frogs croak cf. the Ukr. крякати
said about ducks and квакати said about frogs). It is only
English and Ukrainian cats who seem capable of mutual
understanding when they meet, for English cats mew or
miaow (meow). The same can be said about cows: they moo
(but also low).
Some names of animals and especially of birds and
insects are also produced by sound-imitation: crow, cuckoo,
humming-bird, whip-poor-will, cricket.
There are some semantic groups of words formed with
the aid of sound imitation a) sounds produced by human
beings, such as: to whisper, to giggle, to mumble, to sneeze, to
whistle, etc. b) sounds produced by animals, birds, insects,
such as: to hiss, to buzz, to bark, to moo, to twitter, etc.,
c) sounds produced by nature and objects, such as: to splash, to
rustle, to clatter, to bubble, to ding-dong, to tinkle, etc. The
corresponding nouns are formed by means of conversion, e. g.
clang (of a bell), chatter (of children), etc.
R. Southey’s poem “How Does the Water Come
Down at Lodore” is a classical example of the stylistic
possibilities offered by onomatopoeia: the words in it sound
an echo of what the poet sees and describes.
Here it comes sparkling,
And there it flies darkling ...
Eddying and whisking,
Spouting and frisking, ...
And whizzing and hissing, ...
And guggling and struggling, ...
And bubbling and troubling and doubling,
And flapping and rapping and clapping and slapping ...
And thumping and pumping and bumping and jumping,
And dashing and flashing and splashing and clashing ...
And at once and all o'er, with a mighty uproar,
And this way the water comes down at Lodore.
Exercise 16. Pick out all sound-imitative words from
the sentences given below.
1. My phone buzzed. I picked it up. 2. All about him
black metal pots were boiling and bubbling on huge stoves,
and kettles were hissing, and pans were sizzling, and strange
iron machines were clanking and spluttering. 3. The car moved
through the city, its motor humming in the warm afternoon.
4. The carriage was clapping along in Central Park, being
whooshed at by passing cars. 5. Passenger liners tooted their
basso horns. 6. Clap-clap came through the window. 7. Pons
puffed reflectively on his pipe. 8. “Peewit”, said a peewit, very
remote. 9. He could hear the cheap clock ticking on her
mantelpiece. 10. The German machine-guns were tat-tat-tatting
at them, and there was a ceaseless swish of bullets. 11. He tiptoed across the porch and gently opened the screen door,
remembering that it screeched when yanked. 12. He said
something and she giggled. 13. Should we clap our hands
during worship? 14. A man had no business to giggle like that
and gesticulate and make grimaces. Mopping and mowing,’
she said under her breath. 15. ‘United Metal and Mill is
nothing to sneeze at.’ ‘Going to be the toughest fight yet,’
Shewchuk said. 16. If we clap after someone is baptized, have
we not put the focus on the one baptized instead of God?
17. Becky Thatcher had stopped coming to School. Tom had
struggled with his pride for a few days, and tried to “whistle
her down the wind”, but failed. 18. Voltaire had rashly
attacked the whole body of literary critics... This stirred up a
hornets' nest and the hornets began to buzz. 19. So, as for Jem
Wilson, she could whistle him down the wind.
20. Goldsborough girls were nothing to sneeze at. 21. Who
keeps company with the wolf will learn to howl. 22. After
several minutes, she issued a low hmmm. 23. He beep-beeped
at the bicyclist who was trying to cross the road. 24. The
clocks struck twice tick-tock… her heart was wrung.
25. “Vroom-vroom!” He started a motor of his new car. 26. It
was obvious that somebody has come, Lesley ruff-ruffed at the
yard. 27. What a drag he is! I hate his blah-blah-blah! 28. Do
you hear it? Something is quacking in the basket. 29. I like
wah-wah effect on a synthesizer, it will supplement greatly our
melody. 30. The cat is meowing, I’ll feed him. 31. "You like
being soothed by a murderess?" Cumberland barked at me.
32. We heard them echo in the mountains. 33. Then the
clicking of an alarm clock from beyond a half open door.
Exercise 17. Comment on all sound-imitative units
used in the sentences below.
1. Even with the hundred thousand unfound, though
they greatly coveted, the hue and cry went no further than
that. 2. Now to cause laughter to echo from those lavish
jungles and frowing crags where formerly rang the cries of
pirate's victims; to lay aside pike and cutlass and attack
with quip and jollity; to draw one saving titter of mirth
from the rusty casque of Romance – this were pleasant to
do in the shade of the lemon-trees on that coast that is
curved like lips set for smiling. 3. The waves swished along
the smooth beach; the parrots screamed in the orange and
ceiba-trees; the palms waved their limber fronds foolishly
like an awkward chorus at the prima donna's cue to enter.
4. A native boy dashed down a grass-grown street,
shrieking: “Busca el Senor Goodwin. Ha venido un
telegrafo por el!” 5. Knots of women with complexions
varying from palest olive to deepest brown gathered at
street corners and plaintively carolled: “Un telegrafo por
Senor Goodwin!” 6. When the meaning of the disturbance
became clear to him he placed a hand beside his mouth and
shouted: "Hey! Frank!" in such a robustious voice that the
feeble clamor of the natives was drowned and silenced.
7. The long lame gaps in his plays he filled up with hasty
words of apology and description and swept on, seeing all
that he intended to do so clearly that he esteemed it already
done, and turned to me for applause. 8. Then Charlie
sighed and tugged his hair. 9. But Charlie babbled on
serenely, interrupting the current of pure fancy with
samples of horrible sentences that he purposed to use.
10. An elderly gentleman called away from his lunch put an
end to my search by holding the note-paper between finger
and thumb and sniffing at it scornfully. 11. “Guess I'd be in
a hurry myself,” he muttered, sympathetically, as he
piloted her along the crowded deck. 12. Everybody was in
everybody else's way; nor was there one who failed to
proclaim it at the top of his lungs. 13. Mr. Thurston gripped
tight hold of the gunwale, and as reward for his chivalry
had his knuckles rapped sharply by the oar-blade. 14. Well,
he drinks his whiskey, plunks down two horseshoe nails,
and it's O.K. 15. “Oh, you'll do!” he murmured
ecstatically, bending afresh to the oars. 16. When they
reached the sand-spit, crowded with heterogeneous piles of
merchandise and buzzing with men, she stopped long
enough to shake hands with her ferryman. 17. Just then
Frona uttered a glad little cry and darted forward. 18. “Oh,
you don't remember me!” she chattered. 19. Sir John
Morgan, Lafitte and other eminent swashbucklers bombarded
and pounded it in the name of Abaddon. 20. The comandante,
Don Senor el Coronel Encarnacion Rios, who was loyal to
the Ins and suspected Goodwin's devotion to the Outs,
hissed: "Aha!" and wrote in his secret memorandum book
the accusive fact that Senor Goodwin had on that
momentous date received a telegram. 21. A man on the
barge leaned over from above and baptized him with crisp
and crackling oaths, while the whites and Indians in the
canoe laughed derisively. 22. From the yells and screeches
that came from the knoll the hobbits guessed that their
disappearance had been discovered: Uglúk was probably
knocking off a few more heads. 23. Now to cause laughter
to echo from those lavish jungles and frowing crags where
formerly rang the cries of pirate's victims; to lay aside pike
and cutlass and attack with quip and jollity; to draw one
saving titter of mirth from the rusty casque of Romance –
this were pleasant to do in the shade of the lemon-trees on
that coast that is curved like lips set for smiling. 24. The
Dyea River as of old roared turbulently down to the sea;
but its ancient banks were gored by the feet of many men,
and these men labored in surging rows at the dripping towlines, and the deep-laden boats followed them as they
fought their upward way. 25. For half an hour the pen
scratched without stopping. 26. Zip! Splash! She shook the
water from her eyes, squirming the while as some of it ran
down her warm back. 27. Mingled with harsh high voices as
of birds of prey, and the shrill neighing of horses wild with
rage and fear, there came a rending screech, shivering,
rising swiftly to a piercing pitch beyond the range of
hearing. 28. Iron wheels revolved there endlessly, and
hammers thudded. 29. The tall, red, iron-clamped pumpbeam rose and fell, and the pumps snored and guttered and
shrieked as the first water poured out of the pipe. 30. The
“two-circle” and the “circle-and-dot” brands caused endless
jangling, while every whipsaw discovered a dozen
claimants. 31. And in her eyes there was always a smiling
light, just trembling on the verge of dawn. 32. He heard the
whiz of bullets near his head. 33. Birds chattering in the
trees. 34. Babies babble before they can talk. 35. What is he
buzzing in my ears? 36. The governed will always find
something to grumble about. 37. They splashed their hands in
the water. 38. “Gung, gung” went the little green frog one day.
39. “Moo, moo” went the little brown cow one day.
Blending may be determined as formation that joins
two words that include the letters or sounds they have in
common as a connecting element.
A blend may be defined as a new lexeme built from
two parts or two words (or possibly more words) in such a way
that the constituent parts are usually easily identifiable, though
in some instances, only one of the elements may be
According to the prototype phrases with which they can
be correlated two types of blends can be distinguished. The
first may be named additive, the second – restrictive. Both
involve the sliding together not only of sound but of meaning
as well. The first, additive type, is transformable into a phrase
made of the respective complete stems connected with the
conjunction and, e. g. smog < smoke and fog; ‘a mixture of
smoke and fog’. The elements may be synonymous, be
included in the same semantic field or at least be a part of the
same lexico-grammatical class of words: French+English >
Frenglish. Other examples are: brunch < breakfast and lunch,
transceiver < transmitter and receiver, crunch <crush and
munch, Medicare < medical and care, slimnastics < slimming
and gymnastics, cinemadict < cinema and adict.
The restrictive type is transformable into an attributive
phrase where the first element serves as modifier of the
second: cine (matographic pano) rama > Cinerama.
In etymology, back-formation is the process of creating
a new lexeme, as a rule by means of removing actual or
supposed affixes. The resulting neologism is called a back75
formation, a term coined by James Murray in 1889. Backformation is a word actually formed from, but it seems to be
the base of another word. Back-formation or reversion, by
which we mean inferring of short word from a long one, is a
source of short words in the past and an active derivative
process at the present time. The examples are: to edit from
editor, to beg from beggar, peddle from peddler.
It means the derivation of new words by subtracting a
real or supposed affix from existing words through
misinterpretation of their structure. The earliest examples of
this type of word creating are the verb to beg that was made
from the French borrowing beggar, to burgle from burglar, to
cobble from cobbler, to peddle from peddler. In all these cases
the verb was made from the noun by subtracting what was
falsely associated with the English suffix -er. Latest examples
of back-formation are to butle from butler, to baby-sit from
baby-sitter, to blood-transfuse from blood-transfusing, to
accreditate from accreditation, to bach from bachelor, to
collocate from collocation, to enthuse from enthusiasm, to
compute from computer, to reminisce from reminiscence, to
televise from television, etc.
Back-formation differs from clipping – back-formation
may change the part of speech or the word’s meaning, while
clipping creates shortened words from longer words, but leaves
the part of speech or the meaning of the word unchanged. For
instance, the noun resurrection was borrowed from Latin, and
the verb resurrect was then backformed hundreds of years later
from it by removing the ion suffix. This segmentation of
resurrection into resurrect + ion was possible because in
English there were some examples of Latinate words in the
form of verb and verb+-ion pairs, such as opine/opinion. These
became the pattern for many more such pairs, where a verb
derived from a Latin supine stem and a noun ending in ion
entered the language together, such as insert/insertion,
project/projection, emote/emotion, etc.
Back-formation may be alike the reanalyses of folk
etymologies when it based on a false understanding of the
morphology of the longer word. For instance, the singular
noun asset is a back-formation from the plural assets.
However, assets is primarily not a plural; it is a loan-word
from Anglo-Norman asetz (modern French assez). The -s was
reanalyzed as a plural suffix.
One of the types of back-formation is derivation of
verbs from compounds that have either -er or -ing as their last
element. Some examples of back-formations from compounds
are the verbs beach-comb, house-break, red-bait, tape-record.
Exercise 18. Comment on the origin and structure of
the words formed through back-formation and blending.
1. He spoke with a certain what-is-it in his voice, and I
could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from
being gruntled, so I tactfully changed the subject. 2. “Mamma
might wake and miss me. What are you going to burgle first?”
“You’d better go upstairs”, he said, rather sulkily. 3. Boy!
Don’t beg here! Don’t you known this is not allowed here.
4. Who follow up the sales of painting and burgle the houses of
those who buy. 5. When Emily and Alice accept their first
babysitting job, they must learn how to care for their unusual
charge, a bulldog jealous of the new human baby in its
household. 6. I want to talk like them, dress like them,
handwrite like them, and think like them. 7. Why do you so
lazy? I ask you to hard-boil some eggs. 8. The room was to aircondition, I had left the curtains open to the night sky,
moonlight cast a silvery sheen over everything, bathed the
room in a soft radiance. 9. This paper says how to edit
technical documents. 10. Otherwise it was usual for vets to
euthanase animals with a lethal injection. 11. Private
practitioners may euthanize one or two animals a day at most,
and some days none at all. 12. When the next one appeared I
slewed out, over-steered, spun the wheel back frantically,
dived over the sastruga, then over-steered again. 13. You must
become familiar with the parts of the syringe and needle and
proficient in handling them. 14. Her hair was kempt, her
clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way. 15. While
we’re at it, and to save each other mail, let’s look at the
humorous use of couth and kempt, wordplay on uncouth and
ill-kempt. 16. Give me twenty minutes, Harry, and we’ll have
brunch. 17. The company badly needed radiotrician. 18. Inside
his office intercom buzzed and he pressed the talk button.
19. She begged me to say nothing to her father. 20. Certain
chemicals are easily absorbed into the bloodstream, while
others are not. 21. The pound is the monetary unit of Britain.
22. There was not a pretty face in sight so I sulked all the way
to Dover. 23. The crowd keeps plying the speaker with
questions. 24. One of the pleasures of being on holiday is the
freedom to loaf around without feeling guilty. 25. The police
hustled the prisoner into a cell. 26. Salt was hawked about by
retail dealers. 27. Funk signifies return of modern jazzmen to
earthy roughage of blues, but rephrased with modern
techniques. 28. The market situation is difficult to evaluate.
29. If you expect to gain favours from the king, you will have
to grovel before him to show your respect and obedience.
30. He wrote and edited a new publication. 31. Industry is
often considered as a major contributor to smog. 32. More and
more people are shopping on the internet. 33. Her mini
computer has a 16 bit processor. 34. She got an email from her
father last week. 35. The intercom announced the departure of
Flight BA 531. 36. The investigative journalist recorded the
voice of the corrupt leader in his camcorder. 37. A girl
electrocuted herself when she got into a bath wearing electric
hair curlers 38. She felt a flare of anger within her. 39. The
train chugged through the chunnel as the water had drained off.
Phrasal Verbs
A phrasal verb is a verb followed by a preposition or an
adverb; the combination creates a meaning different from the
original verb alone, e. g.: to get = to obtain: I need to get a
new battery for my camera; to get together = to meet: Why
don’t we all get together for lunch one day?
Phrasal verbs are a part of a large group of verbs called
“multi-part” or “multi-word” verbs. The preposition or adverb
that is placed after the verb is sometimes called a particle.
Phrasal verbs play an important role in English. However, they
are mostly used in spoken English and informal texts. They
should be avoided in academic writing where such a formal
verb as “to postpone” is preferable rather than “to put off”.
Phrasal verbs are divided into transitive and
intransitive. Transitive phrasal verbs always have an object,
e. g. I made up an excuse. (‘Excuse’ is the object of the verb.)
Intransitive phrasal verbs do not have an object, e. g.: My car
broke down.
We can differentiate separable or inseparable phrasal
verbs. When we deal with separable phrasal verbs, we can put
the object between the verb and the preposition, e. g. I looked
the word up in the dictionary. The object is placed after the
preposition in inseparable ones, e. g.: I will look into the matter
as soon as possible.
In some cases we can put an object in both places,
compare: I picked up the book. I picked the book up. But
remember if the object is a pronoun, it must be placed between
the verb and the preposition, e. g.: I picked it up.
Phrasal verbs may be either non-idiomatic or idiomatic.
Non-idiomatic phrasal verbs retain their primary local
meaning, whereas in idiomatic phrasal verbs meanings cannot
be derived from their constituent parts.
Exercise 19. Set off idiomatic and non-idiomatic
phrasal verbs. Give their Ukrainian equivalents
1. How can you account for your absence at the
meeting? 2. He was accused of murder. 3. He acted on the tip
received from an insider and made a lot of money. 4. These
figures don’t add up. 5. They agree about everything. 6. They
don’t always agree on the way children should be raised. 7. He
applied for the position of tour guide. 8. He arrived at the
airport two hours before the flight. 9. Here I rallied, and had
already improved so far as to be able to walk about the wards,
and even to bask a little upon the verandah, when I was struck
down by enteric fever, that curse of our Indian possessions.
10. For month my life was despaired of, and when at last I
came to myself and become convalescent, I was so weak and
emaciated that a medical board determined that not a day
should be lost in sending me back to England. 11. I asked him
to lunch with me at the Holborn, and we started off together in
a hansom. 12. You mustn’t blame me if you don’t get on with
him. 13. She reluctantly decided that to go on was the only
thing to be done. 14. “Go on,” she cried. “You’re daft. I can
never make you out.” 15. I’m thinking of giving up the shop
soon. 16. Elliott called me up one morning. 17. I must be
getting along. 18. I peeped out – he was putting on his hat with
a hasty and uneasy air. 19. They took their seats in the plane
and set off.
The modern English vocabulary falls into two main
sets: native words and borrowings. Native words belong to the
original English word-stock and are known from the earliest
Old English manuscripts. It is customary to subdivide native
words into those of the Indo-European stock and those of the
common Germanic origin. The former have cognates in the
vocabulary of all or most Indo-European languages, whereas
the latter have cognates only in Germanic languages.
Borrowing words from other languages is characteristic
of English throughout its history. More than two thirds of the
English vocabulary are borrowings. Mostly they are words of
Romanic origin (Latin, French, Italian, Spanish). English
continues to take in foreign words, but now the quantity of
borrowings is not so abundant as it was before. All the more
so, English now has become a “giving” language, it has
become Lingva franca of the twentieth century.
Language interrelation over time can result in an
important source of new words – borrowing. Borrowing or a
loan word is a word or phrase which has been borrowed by one
language from another. Partially the words are borrowed
because of the historical circumstances which stimulate the
borrowing process. Each time two nations come into close
contact, certain borrowings are a natural consequence. The
nature of the contact may be different including wars,
invasions or trade and international cultural and sports
In its 15 century long history recorded in written
manuscripts the English language happened to come in long
and close contact with several other languages, mainly Latin,
French and Old Norse (or Scandinavian). The great influx of
borrowings from these sources can be accounted for by a
number of historical causes. Thanks to the great impact of the
Roman civilisation Latin was for a long time used in England
as the language of learning and religion. Old Norse was the
language of the conquerors who were on the resembling level
of social and cultural development and who merged rather
easily with the local population in the 9th, 10th and the first
half of the 11th century. French (to be more exact its Norman
dialect) was the language of the other conquerors who brought
with them a lot of new notions of a higher social system –
developed feudalism, it was the language of upper classes, of
official documents and school instruction from the middle of
the 11th century to the end of the 14th century.
In the study of the borrowed element in English the
main emphasis is usually placed on the Middle English period.
Borrowings of later periods became the object of investigation
only in recent years. These investigations have shown that the
flow of borrowings has been steady and uninterrupted. The
greatest number has come from French. They refer to various
fields of social-political, scientific and cultural life. A large
portion of borrowings (41%) is scientific and technical terms.
The number and character of borrowed words dive the
possibility to find out about the relations between the peoples,
the level of their culture, etc. It is for this reason that
borrowings have often been called the milestones of history.
Thus if we go through the lists of borrowings in English and
arrange them in groups depending on their meaning, we shall
be able to obtain much valuable information with regard to
England’s contacts with many nations. Some borrowings,
however, cannot be explained by the direct impact of certain
historical conditions, they do not come along with any new
objects or ideas. Such were, for example, the words air, place,
brave, gay borrowed from French.
The number and character of borrowings do not only
depend on the historical conditions, on the nature and length of
the contacts, but also on the degree of the genetic and
structural proximity of languages concerned. The closer the
languages, the deeper and more versatile is the influence. This
largely accounts for the well-marked contrast between the
French and the Scandinavian impact on the English language.
Thus under the influence of the Scandinavian languages, which
were closely connected with Old English, some classes of
words were borrowed that could not have been adopted from
non-related or distantly related languages (the pronouns they,
their, them, for instance); a number of Scandinavian
borrowings were felt as derived from native words (they were
of the same root and the connection between them was easily
seen), e. g. drop (AS.) – drip (Scand.), true (AS.)-tryst
(Scand.); the Scandinavian impact even accelerated to a certain
degree the development of the grammatical structure of
Borrowings come in the language in two ways: through
oral speech (by immediate contact between the peoples) and
through written speech (by indirect contact through books,
etc.). Oral borrowing took place mainly in the early periods of
history, whereas in recent times written borrowing gained
importance. Words borrowed orally (e. g. L. inch, mill, street)
are as a rule short and they undergo considerable changes in
the act of adoption. Written borrowings (e. g. Fr. communiqué,
belles-lettres, naïveté) preserve their spelling and some
peculiarities of their sound-form, their assimilation is a long
Though borrowed words undergo changes in the
adopting language they preserve some of their former
peculiarities for a comparatively long period. This makes it
possible to work out some criteria for defining whether the
word belongs to the borrowed element.
Sometimes the pronunciation of the word (strange
sounds, sound combinations, position of stress, etc.), its
spelling and the correlation between sounds and letters are an
indication of the foreign origin of the word. This is the case
with waltz (G.), psychology (Gr.), soufflé (Fr.), etc. The initial
position of the sounds [v], [dз], [з] or of the letters x, j, z is a
sure sign that the word has been borrowed, e. g. volcano (It.),
vase (Fr.), jungle (Hindi), gesture (L.), giant (OFr.), zeal (L.),
zero (Fr.), zinc (G.), etc.
The morphological structure of the word and its
grammatical forms may also bear witness to the word being
adopted from another language. Thus the suffixes in the words
neurosis (Gr.) and violoncello (It.) betray the foreign origin of
the words. The same is true of the irregular plural forms
papyra (from papyrus, Gr.), pastorali (from pastorale, It.),
beaux (from beau, Fr.), bacteria, (from bacterium, L.) and the
But some early borrowings have become so thoroughly
assimilated that they are unrecognisable without a historical
analysis, e. g. chalk, mile (L.), ill, ugly (Scand.), enemy, car
(Fr.), etc.
It is essential to analyse the changes that borrowings
have undergone in the English language and how they have
adapted themselves to its peculiarities.
All the changes that borrowed elements undergo may
fall into two large groups. On the one hand there are changes
specific of borrowed words only. These changes aim at
adapting words of foreign origin to the norms of the borrowing
language, e. g. the consonant combinations [pn], [ps], [pt] in
the words pneumatics, psychology, Ptolemy of Greek origin
were simplified into [n], [s], [t]. The initial [ks] was changed
into [z] (as in Gr. xylophone).
By analogy with the great majority of nouns that form
their plural in -s, borrowings, even very recent ones, have
assumed this inflection instead of their original plural endings.
The forms Soviets, bolsheviks, kolkhozes, sputniks illustrate the
Degree of assimilation is determined by the time of the
borrowing. The general principle is: the older the borrowing,
the more thoroughly it tends to follow normal English habits of
accentuation, pronunciation, etc. It is but natural that the
majority of early borrowings have acquired full English
citizenship and that most English speaking people are surprised
at first hearing, that such everyday words as window, chair,
dish and so on have not always belonged to their language.
Late borrowings often retain their foreign peculiarities.
Exercise 1. Explain the etymology of the words in bold
1. His anger poured over me like lava. 2. I finished my
chops, leaned back in my chair, and lit a cigarette. 3. He took
out a long cigar and placed it in his mouth. 4. The robot
looked at him impassively out of its faceted eye. 5. On the tray
there was a pot of coffee and two cups. 6. “Here’s Len
Minogue, he’ll play a polka for us,” he roared, dragging a little
man with an accordion, over to the piano. 7. She was dressed
in a heavy silk kimono of authentic manufacture. 8. She went
into the kitchen and filled a glass with equal portions of
vodka and orange juice. 9. I’ve been taking karate lessons,
and I gave him a sample. 10. A horde of mosquitoes gathered
immediately in the lee of the car. 11. Then they dined at a tiny
seafood restaurant. 12. Everyone had to get used to handling
dog teams and building igloo shelters. 13. She had left the flat
to buy some sandwiches at a delicatessen near Sloane Square.
14. Myra had potato chips and a dish of tiny pieces of herring
and some tomatoes.
Classification of Borrowings
Borrowings can be classified in compliance to different
criteria: a) according to the degree of assimilation,
b) according to the language from which the word was
borrowed. (In this classification only the main languages from
which words were borrowed into English are described, such
as Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, German and Russian.)
Classification of borrowings according the degree of
assimilation. Most of the borrowed words adjust themselves to
their new environment and get adapted to the norms of the
recipient language. They undergo certain changes which
gradually erase their proper features and finally they are
The degree of assimilation of borrowings is determined
by the following factors: a) from what group of languages the
word was borrowed, if the word belongs to the same group of
languages to which the borrowing language belongs it is
assimilated easier, b) in what way the word is borrowed: orally
or in the written form, words borrowed orally are assimilated
quicker, c) how often the borrowing is used in the language,
the greater the frequency of its usage, the quicker it is
assimilated, d) how long the word lives in the language, the
longer it lives, the more assimilated it is.
Borrowed words are adjusted in three main areas of the
new language system: the phonetic, the grammatical and the
The nature of phonetic adaptation is best shown by
comparing Norman French borrowings. The Norman
borrowings have for a long time been fully adapted to the
phonetic system of the English language. Such words as table,
plate, courage bear no phonetic traces of their French origin.
Some of the later borrowings sound surprisingly French:
matinee, ballet, cafe. In these cases phonetic adaptation is not
Grammatical adaptation is based on a complete change
of the former paradigm of the borrowed word. Yet, this is also
a lasting process. For instance, words phenomenon (pl.
phenomena), criterion (pl. criteria) are not fully adopted.
Other borrowings have two plural forms – the native and the
foreign, e. g. vacuum (L.) – vacua, vacuums, virtuoso (It.) –
virtuosi, virtuosos.
By semantic adaptation is meant adjustment to the
system of meanings of the vocabulary. When a word is taken
over into another language, its semantic structure as a rule
undergoes great changes. Polysemantic words are usually
adopted only in one or two of their meanings. Thus the word
timbre that had a number of meanings in French was borrowed
into English as a musical term only. The words cargo and
cask, highly polysemantic in Spanish, were adopted only in
one of their meanings – ‘the goods carried in a ship’, ‘a barrel
for holding liquids’ respectively.
In the process of its historical development a borrowing
sometimes got new meanings that were not to be found in its
former semantic structure. For example, the verb move in
Modern English has acquired the meanings of ‘propose’,
‘change one’s flat’, ‘mix with people’ and others that the
French mouvoir does not possess. As a rule the development of
new meanings takes place 50 – 100 years after the word is
The semantic structure of borrowings changes in other
ways as well. Some meanings become more general, others
more specialised, etc. For example, the word umbrella,
borrowed in the meaning of a ’sunshade’ or ‘parasol’ (from It.
ombrella < ombra – ’shade’) came to denote similar protection
from the rain as well.
Borrowed words according to the degree of
assimilation fall into three groups: а) completely assimilated,
b) partially assimilated, c) unassimilated words or barbarisms.
Completely assimilated borrowings occur in all layers
of older borrowings. They are also called denizens. They
follow all morphological, phonetic and orthographic standards
e. g. husband, table, street, take. Being very frequent and
stylistically neutral, they may occur as dominant words in
synonymic groups. They take an active part in word formation.
The second group containing partially assimilated
borrowings can fall into 4 groups. Such words are also called
1. Borrowings that are not assimilated semantically,
because they denote objects and notions peculiar to the country
from which they are borrowed: sherbet, toreador, sari,
sombrero, taiga.
2. Borrowings that are not assimilated grammatically,
for example nouns borrowed from Latin and Greek which keep
their original plural forms crisis – crises, phenomenon –
phenomena, genius – genii, bacillus – bacilli.
3. Borrowings that are not assimilated phonetically. For
example, some of the French words borrowed after 1650 keep
the accent on the final syllable. Some words comprise sounds
or combinations of sounds that are not standard for the English
language: boulevard, foyer, camouflage, bourgeois.
4. Borrowings that are not assimilated graphically. This
group is quite numerous. Usually such words are from the
French origin. In these words the final consonant is not
pronounced and they keep a diacritic mark. Some of them have
variant spelling: Cliché, naïve, chateau, troussaeu.
The third group is unassimilated borrowed words. They
are also called barbarisms. They are words from other
languages used by English people in conversation or in writing
but not assimilated in any way, and for which there are
corresponding English equivalents: e. g. coup d’etat, eureka,
persona grata, etc. (see Table 7)/
Table 7 ˗- Сlassification of borrowings according to the
degree of assimilation
e. g. husband, table
not assimilated
e. g. cliché, naïve
not assimilated
e. g. sherbet, toreador
not assimilated
e. g. crisis – crises,
genius – genii
not assimilated
e. g. boulevard,
e. g. coup
d’etat, eureka
Classification of borrowings according to the
language from which they were borrowed. Romanic
borrowings. Among words of Romanic origin borrowed from
Latin during the period when the British Isles were a part of
the Roman Empire, are such words as: street, port, wall, etc.
Many Latin and Greek words came into English during the
Adoption of Christianity in the 6-th century. These borrowings
are as a rule called classical borrowings. Here belong Latin
words: alter, cross, dean, and Greek words: church, angel,
devil, anthem. Latin and Greek borrowings appeared in English
during the Middle English period due to the Great Revival of
Learning. These are for the most part scientific words. These
words were not used as often as the words of the Old English
period, therefore some of them were partly assimilated
grammatically, e. g. formula - formulae. Here also belong such
words as: memorandum, minimum, maximum, veto, etc.
Classical borrowings continue to come in Modern English as
well. Mainly they are words formed by means of Latin and
Greek morphemes. There are many of them in medicine
(appendicitis, aspirin), in chemistry (acid, valency, alkali), in
technique (engine, antenna, biplane, airdrome), in politics
(socialism, militarism), names of sciences (zoology, physics).
In philology most of terms are of Greek origin (homonym,
archaism, lexicography).
French borrowings. The largest group of borrowings are
French borrowings. Most of them appeared in English at the
time of the Norman Conquest. French effected not only the
vocabulary of English but also its spelling, because documents
were written by French scribes as the local population was
chiefly illiterate, and the ruling class was French. There are the
following semantic groups of French borrowings: a) words
relating to government: administer, empire, state, government;
b) words relating to military affairs: army, war, banner,
soldier, battle; c) words relating to jury: advocate, petition,
inquest, sentence, barrister; d) words relating to fashion:
luxury, coat, collar, lace, pleat, embroidery; e) words relating
to jewelry: topaz, emerald, ruby, pearl; f) words relating to
food and cooking: lunch, dinner, appetite, to roast, to stew.
Words were borrowed from French into English after 1650,
mostly through French literature, but they were not as
numerous and many of them are not completely assimilated.
There are the following semantic groups of these borrowings:
a) words relating to literature and music: belle-lettres,
conservatorie, brochure, nuance, piruette, vaudeville; b) words
relating to military affairs: corps, echelon, fuselage, manouvre;
c) words relating to buildings and furniture: entresol, chateau,
bureau; d) words relating to food and cooking: ragout, cuisine.
Italian borrowings. The earliest Italian borrowing came
into English in the 14-th century, it was the word bank /from
the Italian banko - bench/. Italian money-lenders and moneychangers sat in the streets on benches. When they suffered
losses they turned over their benches, it was called banco rotta
from which the English word bankrupt originated. In the 17-th
century some geological terms were borrowed: volcano,
granite, bronze, lava. At the same time some political terms
were borrowed: manifesto, bulletin. But in the main Italian is
famous by its impact in music: alto, baritone, basso, tenor,
falsetto, solo, duet, trio, quartet, quintet, opera, operette,
libretto. Among the 20-th century Italian borrowings we can
mention: gazette, incognitto, autostrada, fiasco, diletante,
graffitto, etc.
Spanish borrowings. Spanish borrowings came into
English mostly through its American variant. There are the
following semantic groups of them: a) trade terms: cargo,
embargo; b) names of dances and musical instruments: tango,
rumba, habanera, guitar; c) names of vegetables and fruit:
tomato, potato, cocoa, banana, ananas, apricot, etc.
Germanic borrowings. English belongs to the Germanic
group of languages and there are borrowings from
Scandinavian, German and Holland languages. Scandinavian
borrowings. By the end of the Old English period English
underwent a strong impact of Scandinavian due to the
Scandinavian conquest of the British Isles. Scandinavians and
Englishmen had the similar way of life, their cultural level was
the resembling, they had much in common in their literature
therefore there were a lot of words in these languages which
were almost identical, e. g. Esyster – sweoster – sister, fiscr –
fisc – fish, felagi – felawe – fellow. However there were many
words which were different, and some of them came in
English, such nouns as: bull, cake, egg, kid, knife, skirt,
window, etc., such adjectives as: flat, ill, happy, low, odd, ugly,
wrong, etc., such verbs as: call, die, guess, get, give, scream
and others. Even some pronouns and connective words were
borrowed, such as: same, both, till, fro, though, and pronominal
forms with “th”: they, them, their.
German borrowings. There are some 800 words
borrowed from German into English. Some of them have
classical roots, e. g. in some geological terms, such as: cobalt,
bismuth, zink, quarts, gneiss, wolfram. There are also words
denoting objects used in everyday life: iceberg, lobby,
rucksack, Kindergarten, etc. In the period of the Second World
War and after it such words were borrowed: Luftwaffe, SS-man,
Bundeswehr, gestapo, gas chamber Berufsverbot, Volkswagen,
Holland borrowings. Holland and England have
constant interrelations for many centuries and more than 2000
Holland borrowings were borrowed into English. Most of them
are nautical terms and were mostly borrowed in the 14-th
century, such as: freight, skipper, pump, keel, dock, reef, deck,
leak and many others.
Exercise 2. Classify the borrowings in bold type
according to the degree of their assimilation. State from what
languages they are borrowed.
1. The walls had been panelled (at cost price) by a good
decorator and on them hung engravings of theatrical pictures
by Zoffany and de Wilde. 2. That rate literary phenomenon, a
Southern novel with no mildew on its magnolia leaves. Funny,
happy, and written with unspectacular precision. 3. When
Mike Noonan's wife dies unexpectedly, the bestselling author
suffers from writer's block. Until he is drawn to his summer
home, the beautiful lakeside retreat called Sara Laughs. 4. The
pair are the epitome of chic, living a glamorous lifestyle and
entertaining friends at their house. 5. Henry VIII's invasion of
France has gone badly wrong, and a massive French fleet is
preparing to sail across the Channel. 6. In the hot and dusty
main street the cars were parked nose to the kerb. 7. The
breath of an inquisitive dog blew warm and nervous on her
neck; she could feel her skin broiling a little in the heat and
hear the small exhausted wa-waa of the expiring waves.
8. Stradlater was a goddamn genius next to Ackley. 9. When it
finally gets too much, she can always simply die. 10. This
innocent passion for the persons whose photographs appear in
the illustrated papers made him seem incredibly naïve, and she
looked at him with tender eyes. 11. She’s a dancer. А ballet
and all. She used to practice about two hours every day, right
in the middle of the hottest weather and all. 12. If she went into
the café on her own, she had to give way to any white person
who walked in and let them be served first. 13. I left a message
on her answering machine. 14. He was a big, hulking Indian
clad in approved white-man style, with an Eldorado king’s
sombrero on his head. 15. She had bought “Le Temps” and
“The Saturday Evening Post” for her mother, and as she drank
her citronade she opened the latter at the memoirs of a
Russian princess, finding the dim conventions of the nineties
realer and nearer than the headlines of the French paper.
16. He still had at fifty-two a very good figure. 17. He kept
saying they were too new and bourgeois. 18. It was dark as
hell in the foyer, naturally, and naturally I couldn't turn on any
lights. 19. “Who are you?” “Battle police,” another officer
said. 20. He woke when he heard me in the room and sat up.
“Ciao!” –, he said. 21. I arranged with the concierge to make
my coffee in the morning. 22. The modest, well-bred, etcetera,
English gentleman. 23. “How many corridas you had this
year?” Renata asked.
Exercise 3. Classify the borrowings in bold type
according to the language from which they were borrowed.
1. Improved structural techniques and materials and the
quest for greater speed made the biplane configuration
obsolete for most purposes by the late 1930s. 2. The hotel was
run by a trio of brothers. 3. In Classical music, the most
important combination of four instruments in chamber music is
the string quartet. 4. It faced into the prevailing wind and a
land airdrome could be easily made. 5. They walked past
stalls selling huge sprays of crimson, saffron and cobalt
flowers. Cobalt is primarily used as the metal, in the
preparation of magnetic, wear-resistant and high-strength
alloys. 6. They must appeal; a petition too might be started in
the last event. 7. Support the keel with timber blocking to take
most of the weight of the hull. 8. Also, Dr Vize wants me in
Angola as soon as I can get free of the inquest formalities. 9. It
was early days but she would have been in the top echelon of
players. 10. Her sister was at the window, hanging her head
low, a poor figure. 11. Alice dropped her eyes at the odd
question. 12. A crowd was waiting at the dock to greet them.
13. Bismuth – a heavy brittle diamagnetic trivalent metallic
element. 14. Zink can refer to another name for the cornetto, a
Renaissance wind instrument. 15. In fact, he sometimes lurks
by one of his bronzes and plays devil's advocate. 16. Entresol
– a low story in a building between the ground floor and the
floor above. 17. Chateau is a large French country house or
castle, often giving its name to wine made in its
neighbourhood. 18. The nose wheel is raised backward into
front fuselage. 19. Ruling an empire wasn't getting any easier;
he rarely had a minute to himself anymore. 20. In her confused
state of mind, she had convinced herself that he loved her.
21. This was also seen on blouses and box pleat skirts.
22. Albs were originally quite plain, but about the 10th century
the custom arose of ornamenting the borders and the cuffs of
the sleeves with strips of embroidery, and this became
common in the 12th century. 23. The general tenor of her
speech was so understandable. 24. Cocoa beans are growed
for preparing of a drink. 25. Three sailors stood in the dock.
26. It proved the final blow for the Neptune; the ship slowly
keeled over and sank. 27. Bananа is a long curved fruit with
yellow skins. 28. If a man tries to imitate a woman’s voice he
does it by speaking in a falsetto voice. 29. Bearing in mind
that the company had sold a car with an air-cooled engine
since 1948, this was a natural choice for the new four cylinder.
International Words
As the process of borrowing is mostly connected with
the appearance of new notions which the loan words serve to
express, it is natural that the borrowing is seldom limited to
one language. Words of the same origin that occur in several
languages as a sequence of simultaneous or successive
borrowings from one ultimate source are called international
The etymological sources of this vocabulary reflect the
history of world culture. Expanding global contacts cause the
considerable growth of international vocabulary. All languages
depend on their changes upon the cultural and social matrix in
which they operate and various contacts between nations are
part of this matrix reflected in vocabulary.
Such words usually convey concepts which are
important in the field of communication (cf. Eng. Telephone,
organization, inauguration, industry, Ukr. телефон,
організація, інаугурація, індустрія). If it is a noun, it is
certain to adopt, sooner or later, a new system of declension; if
it is a verb, it will conjugate in accordance to the rules of the
recipient language.
International words play an especially prominent part in
various terminological systems including the vocabulary of
science, industry and art. Many of them are of Latin and Greek
origin. A large number of names of science are international,
e. g. philosophy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology,
medicine, linguistics, lexicology. There are also numerous
terms of art in this group: music, theatre, drama, tragedy,
comedy, artist, primadonna. The etymological sources of this
vocabulary reflect the history of the world culture. Thus, for
instance, the mankind’s cultural debt to Italy is reflected in the
considerable number of Italian words related to architecture,
painting and especially music that are borrowed into most
European languages: allegro, andante, aria, arioso, barcarole,
baritone (and others names of voices), concert, duet, opera
(and others names of pieces of music), piano and many more.
It is quite natural that political terms often occur in the
international group of borrowings: politics, policy, revolution,
progress, democracy, communism, anti-militarism.
The English language also contributed a great number
of international words to world languages. Among them the
sport terms occupy a prominent position: football, volley-ball,
baseball, hockey, cricket, rugby, tennis, golf, etc.
Fruits and foodstuff imported from exotic countries
frequently transport their names too and, being at the same
time imported to many countries, become international: coffee,
cocoa, chocolate, coca-cola, banana, mango, avocado,
The rate of change in technology, political, social and
artistic life has been greatly accelerated in the 20th century and
so has the rate of growth of international wordstock. A few
examples of comparatively new words due to the progress of
science will suffice to illustrate the importance of international
vocabulary: algorithm, antenna, antibiotic, automation,
bionics, cybernetics, entropy, gene, genetic code, graph,
microelectronics, microminiaturisation, quant, quasars, pulsars,
ribosome, etc. All these show sufficient likeness in English,
French, Russian and several other languages.
The international wordstock is also growing thanks to
the influx of exotic borrowed words like anaconda, bungalow,
kraal, orang-outang, sari, etc. These come from many
different sources.
At least some of the Russian words borrowed into
English and many other languages and thus international
should also be mentioned: balalaika, bolshevik, cosmonaut,
czar, intelligentsia, Kremlin, mammoth, sambo, soviet, sputnik,
steppe, vodka.
Exercise 4. In the sentences given below identify
international words and state to what sphere of human activity
they belong.
1. But I still lacked the confidence to try to take charge
when Vadim seemed particularly out of control. 2. ‘The
injection should take effect soon, love,’ he called in. and the
doctor said it would make you sleepy.’ 3. The Moroccan
frontier is about three miles away and clearly we are here in
case the hordes of fellagha sitting on the other side think the
coming referendum heralds a return home to Algeria. 4. He is a
sadist and delights in the discomfort of others. 5. He didn’t
even know if he was going to college. 6. I hold out a ziplock
bag containing banana muffins. Becki hesitates, then accept
one. 7. The horse remained amazingly calm during what
looked a painful procedure. 8. But just like on a battlefield,
where the sergeant knew more than the grunt, and the
lieutenant more than the sergeant, and so on, the trick of
gathering intelligence was to capture higher ranking officers
from the other side, debrief them, and then launch a
counterstrike. 9. Five dozen fiascos of oxygen he’s had all
together, yesterday and to-day, the soak! 10. He came into the
barracks like a tornado. 11. It all helps patients to come to
terms with what is happening and regain control of their lives.
12. The battle would have a profound effect on the rest of the
war. 13. The decision to postpone the referendum on the euro
will also mean that the Convention gets an absolutely clear run
in the next year. 14. He is a sadist and delights in the
discomfort of others. 15. College leavers to find out what they
have gone on to do. 16. I hold out a ziplock bag containing
banana muffins. 17. Candidates may be required to undergo an
adaptation procedure. 18. But just like on a battlefield, where
the sergeant knew more than the grunt, and the lieutenant more
than the sergeant, and so on, the trick of gathering intelligence
was to capture higher ranking officers from the other side,
debrief them, and then launch a counterstrike. 19. Her husband,
knowing she could not play, shut the piano to avoid a fiasco.
20. Britain is tornado hotspot Britain is five times more likely
to be hit by a tornado than the United States, research reveals
today. 21. We'll adopt a policy of localism that lets local people
choose what's right for their neighborhood. 22. Industry sector
experience provide commercially aware, client focused advice
throughout the process. 23. In some units, the idea of creating
soviets was discussed. 24. Elton John has remained a close
mentor to Ryan during his move to solo artist. 25. Progress
toward nuclear disarmament, which constitutes their primary
disarmament objective. 26. Radio crackled into life once more,
only for us to discover they had still not turned up at camp.
Pseudo-International Words
International words should not be confused with
pseudo-international words (false cognates, “translator’s false
friends”) which have the same origin different semantic
Exercise 5. Translate the following sentences into
Ukrainian paying attention to pseudo-international words.
1. “All right, from that perspective, I can buy it. We’ll
call social services”, he said. 2. These then are the three men
who will have principal control over us during the coming
weeks. 3. “I think this could be my salvation from a lunatic
asylum which is the alternative if I have to go on publishing
wheelbarrow”. 4. We returned to Sully and the two prisoners
were paraded in front of Captain Glasser in his office. 5. That
left two pages on four-year-old Tika, who’d been shot on a dog
bed, and one paragraph on five-month-old ViVi, who’d been
suffocated in her crib. 6. Liz laughed, intrigued by the prospect.
7. Phil rattled off a geographic profile of the Harringtons’
known activities and organizations. 8. I wondered what we left
behind – a watch or two, a few cents photograph or a magazine
and some ammunition. 9. The only thing he didn’t like was the
wine list. 10. Selfishness runs in the family, Liz thought drily.
Etymological Doublets
Sometimes a word is borrowed twice from the same
language. Consequently, we get two different words with
different spellings and meanings but historically they come
back to one and the same word. Such words are called
etymological doublets. In English they fall into some groups.
The words shirt and skirt are of the same root. Shirt is a
native word, and skirt is a Scandinavian borrowing. Their
phonemic shape differs and yet they are similar and this
reflects their common origin. Their meanings are also different
but easily associated. They both mean clothing items.
Etymological doublets may enter the vocabulary by
different roots. Some of these pairs (like shirt and skirt, scabby
and shabby) consist of a native word and a borrowed one.
Others are represented by two borrowings from different
languages which are historically derived from the same root:
canal (Latin) – channel (French), captain (Latin) – chieftan
Still others were borrowed from the same language
twice at different time: travel (Norman. Fr.) – travail (Parisian
Fr.), cavalry (Norman. Fr.) – chivalry (Parisian Fr.).
A doublet may also include a shortened word and the
one from which it was derived: history – story, fanatic – fan,
shadow – shade.
Etymological hybrids are words whose elements came
from different languages, e. g. eatable (native root + Romanic
suffix), distrust (native root + Romanic prefix), beautiful
(Romanic root + native suffix), etc.
Etymological triplets are groups of three words of
common origin: hospital (lat) – hostel (Norm. Fr.) – hotel
(Par. Fr.), to capture (Lat.) – to catch (Norm. Fr.) – to chase
(Par. Fr.).
Exercise 6. Compare the meaning of the following
etymological doublets or triplets. State their origin.
major – mayor, captain – chieftan, shirt – skirt, shriek –
screech, canal – channel, corpus – corpse – corps, dike – ditch,
travel – travail, shrew – screw, cart – chart, shadow – shade,
naked – nude, lapel – label, ward – guard, hale – hail, shabby –
scabby, pauper – poor, vast – waste, wine – vine, zealous –
jealously, basis – base, deacon – dean, papyrus – paper, chief –
chef, hospital – hostel – hotel, saloon – salon, suit – suite,
camp – campus, street – stratum, catch – chase, cavalry –
chivalry, dragon – dragoon – drake, plan – plane – plain, gentle
– genteel – gentile, stack – stake – steak.
Exercise 7. State the origin of the following
etymological doublets, if any. Translate the sentences into
1. After crossing a rather large prairie, we arrived at the
skirts of a little wood that was enlivened by the songs and
flight of a large number of birds. 2. He once found a little fox
cub half drowned in its hole and he brought it home in the
bosom of his shirt to keep it warm. 3. In the course of the day
of the 29th of January, the island of Ceylon disappeared under
the horizon, and the Nautilus, at a speed of twenty miles an
hour, slid into the labyrinth of canals which separate the
Maldives from the Laccadives. 4. The empire of Blefuscu is an
island situated to the north-east of Lilliput, from which it is
parted only by a channel of eight hundred yards wide.
5. “Well, my friend, this earth will one day be that cold
corpse; it will become uninhabitable and uninhabited like the
moon, which has long since lost all its vital heat.” 6. She
smiles a weak, embarrassed smile, and the press corps chuckle
encouragingly. 7. When he traveled about, darkness so
brooded over him that the sight of him was a wrong done to
other people because it was as if he poisoned the air about him
with gloom. 8. What does the Bible tell us about this
difference, and why the Negro race has been cursed to so much
pain and travail? 9. “Hum!” thought I, “a whale with the
strength of a cavalry regiment would be a pretty whale!”
10. There was a steel-barred gate at the far end of the tunnel. It
always reminded me of pictures I'd seen of old castles; you
know, in days of old when knights were bold and chivalry was
in flower. 11. "Do you never catch cold?" inquired Mary,
gazing at him wonderingly.12. I've chased about the moor in
all weathers same as the rabbits do. 13. "Now," I said, tilting
my bowl to capture the last spoonful, "probably would have
cooked him some soup". 14. This isn't to let me off the hook,
but it sometimes seems to me that history which has recently
fallen over the horizon is harder to research than the Middle
Ages or the time of the Crusades. 15. It made me feel like a
character in an Edgar Allan Poe story every time I used it.
16. Yet, even lost as deeply in his own fantasy world as he
was, he gave Percy a wide berth and a mistrustful glance.
17. "Open the window!" he added, laughing half with joyful
excitement and half at his own fancy. 18. Some group –
probably exiled Russian hard-line fanatics – began selling
nuclear weapons to terrorist groups, including The Base. 19. I
looked for a fan, but they were all gone. 20. That chance now
fell into his lap, courtesy of Percy Wetmore. 21. "Thank you,
sir," bobbing a curtsy, "I want to do my duty, sir." 22. Our
shadows bobbed and flickered on the walls. 23. It occurred to
me that it should have been the shade of tired old limes,
because now this room was just another version of the Green
Mile. 24. I described that extraordinary care always taken of
their education in arts and arms, to qualify them for being
counsellors both to the king and kingdom; to have a share in
the legislature; to be members of the highest court of
judicature, whence there can be no appeal; and to be
champions always ready for the defence of their prince and
country, by their valour, conduct, and fidelity. 25. He knew not
what could be the use of those several clefts and divisions in
my feet behind; that these were too soft to bear the hardness
and sharpness of stones, without a covering made from the
skin of some other brute; that my whole body wanted a fence
against heat and cold, which I was forced to put on and off
every day, with tediousness and trouble: and lastly, that he
observed every animal in this country naturally to abhor the
Yahoos, whom the weaker avoided, and the stronger drove
from them. 26. Has dedicated a however the ultra I need a
cruise the Panama canal. 27. Indeed will today’s teristrial TV
channels transfer to mobile device? 28. Australian by birth, he
has worked in adventure travel since 1967. 29. Those that
have joined with their honor great travails, cares, or perils are
less subject to envy. 30. They are well seasoned in trying to
avert attention and skirt details.
Exercise 8. Comment on the etymological composition
of the following hybrids.
1. Chance rewarded our search for eatable vegetables,
and one of the most useful products of the tropical zones
furnished us with precious food that we missed on board. 2. I
think – I think he's beautiful!" said Mary in a determined
voice. 3. The mouse scampered up on his bald pate and sat
there. I don't know if he remembered that he also had reason to
distrust, Percy, but it certainly looked as if he did. 4. I know
countless ways how to be happy. 5. I promise to love you as
long as life endures. 6. Merciful and merciless are affixal
The term “loan word” is identical to borrowing. By
translation loans we indicate borrowings which are not taken
into the vocabulary of another language more or less in the
same phonemic shape in which they have been functioning in
their own language, but are influenced by the process of
translation. Translation loans are word-for-word (or
morpheme-for-morpheme) translations of some foreign words
or expressions. In such cases the notion is borrowed from a
foreign language but it is expressed by native lexical units.
Some translation loans came in English from Latin already in
the Old English period, e. g. Sunday (solis dies). There are
translation loans from the languages of Indians, such as: pipe
of peace, pale-faced, from German masterpiece, homesickness,
superman. They are only compound words, because each stem
can be translated separately: e. g. 5 year-plan (from Russian
пятилетка), first dancer (from Italian prima-ballerina),
collective farm (from Russian колхоз), wonder child (from
German wunderkind), etc.
Exercise 9. Translate the following translation-loans
into Ukrainian.
Fatherland, fellow-traveller, first dancer, lightning way,
milky way, local colouring, the moment of truth, mother
tongue, pen name, self-criticism, Sisyphean labour, a slip of
the tongue, a slip of the pen, swan song, sword of Damocles,
thing-in-itself, word combination, world-famous.
Exercise 10. Translate the following sentences, paying
attention to translation-loans.
1. A kibbutz is a collective farm, although increasingly
it includes other industries as well. 2. The Seventh Five-Year
Plan (1985-90) was cleared by the cabinet only in 1989,
rendering it ineffective. 3. It was the swan song of my pension
and the developed nations. 4. Three years of hard grind, and
now it's the moment of truth for two of ballet's young hopefuls.
5. Most of them have no fatherland of their own, or someone
else's. 6. But we ought to exercise enough self-criticism to ask
ourselves whether it would not be better to pool competences
in some cases. 7. We had a guesstimate of Pounds 20,000,
which felt like the Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.
8. While swimming and catching a tan, I met some fellow
travelers from London. 9. A thing-in-itself is an object as it
would appear to us if we did not have to approach it under the
conditions of space and time.
Meaning is a component of the word through which a
concept is communicated. When we first hear or read a word
the corresponding concept comes to mind. Thus, the word can
denote real objects, qualities, actions and abstract notions.
There are three main types of the lexical meaning of
1) Nominative meaning. It is the direct meaning of the
word, which refers to objects in extralinguistic reality. The
nominative meaning has denotational and connotational
components. Denotation means the expression of the direct
meaning of the word that doesn’t bear any emotive evaluation
or stylistic colouring, e. g. friend, dog, love, great, begin, etc.
Connotation is the supplementary expressive meaning which is
performed either by emotive charge, e. g. girlie, doggy,
worship, etc., or by stylistic reference, e. g. father (neutr.) ::
parent (book.) :: dad (col.) :: governor (slang); great
(neutr.) :: terrific (col.).
2) Syntactically conditioned meaning. It displays itself
in different colligations. Cf. look at :: look for :: look after, etc.
3) Phraseologically bound meaning. It is idiomatic
meaning which displays itself only in certain phraseological
units, e. g. buy smth. for a song; to be on the safe side; to cut a
long story short, etc. (see Table 8).
A branch of linguistics that studies meaning is called
semasiology (or semantics). The name comes from the Greek
sēmasiā – “signification” (from sēma – “sign”, sēmantikos –
“significant”, and logos – “learning”). The modern approach
to semantics is based on the assumption that the inner form of
the word (its meaning) presents the semantic structure of the
Table 8 ˗- Main types of the lexical meaning of words
Lexical meaning of words
phraseologically bound
e. g. look at, look
for, look after, etc
e. g. buy smth.
for a song; to be on the
safe side; to cut a long
story short, etc.
e. g. girl, dog, love
e. g. girlie, doggy,
Three main semantic structures of words: monosemy,
semantic diffusion and polysemy.
1. Monosemy is the existence within one word of only
one meaning. There are not too many monosemantic words.
They are mainly scientific terms, e. g. chemistry, molecule,
sputnic, etc.
2. Semantic diffusion is observed in words with a very
wide conceptual volume. Such words can name an indefinitely
large number of objects. For example, the word thing means
“any object of our thought”. It can name anything – living
beings, problems, facts, affairs, pieces of writing, possessions,
3. Polysemy (from Greek poly, “many” semeion,
“sign”) is when a word has several meanings or is open to
several or many meanings. Polysemy is a treasure and value of
every spoken language. It exists only in the language, but does
not exist in speech. The majority of English words are
polysemantic. In the process of polysemy development new
meanings appear and old ones are lost. Polysemantic word is
the presence of several meanings in one word. Though they are
used to mark different subjects, occurrences, processes all of
them are connected with each other. They are also used in
different word combinations (see Table 9).
Table 9 ˗- Main semantic structures of words
Semantic structures
of words
e. g. chemistry,
e. g. stuff,
e. g. table,
to take
Ch. Bally made distinction between two aspects of
polysemy as a linguistic phenomenon: 1) one linguistic sign
has several meanings, 2) one meaning is expressed by several
Some meanings invariably come to the fore when we
hear the word in actual speech or see it written. Other
meanings are evident only due to the context of the word. The
context makes the word explicit, i. e. brings them out. The
word in one of its meanings is called lexico-semantic variant of
this word. There may be no single semantic component
common to all lexico-grammatical variants but every variant
has something in common with at least one of the others. All
the lexico-semantic variants of a word taken together form its
semantic structure or semantic paradigm.
When analyzing the semantic structure of a
polysemantic word, it is necessary to distinguish between two
levels of analysis. On the first level, the semantic structure of a
word is treated as a system of meanings. For instance, the
semantic structure of the noun “head” could be presented by
the scheme given below (here you can see only the most
frequent meanings):
A part of the
human body
The top of
On the second level of analysis of the semantic
structure of a word: each separate meaning is a subject to
structural analysis in which it may be represented as sets of
semantic components.
For example, the word dark: 1. Obscure – destitute of
light. 2. Gloomy – destitute of cheerfulness. 3. Mysterious –
destitute of clarity. 4. Not enlightened with knowledge; rude;
ignorant – destitute of learning and science. 5. Not vivid –
destitute of brightness. 6. Disheartening; having unfavorable
prospects – destitute of luck, hope. 7. Blind – destitute of
The semantic structure of a word should be investigated
at both these levels: 1) of different meanings, 2) of semantic
components within each separate meaning.
Terminology is the language area, where the polysemy
is not desirable. As a rule, a term usually bears only one
meaning in one science or sphere of activity. For instance a
word hydrogen has only one meaning, e. g. In the process of
chlorine production, hydrogen is generated as a byproduct. Or
a word molecule, which also has only one meaning, e. g.: In
the pale yellow substance obtained, the ratio of coordination
compound to organic molecule is 1/5000.
Exercise 1. Translate the following sentences into
Ukrainian paying attention to the different meanings of the
words in bold type.
1. They say the best hotel for one customer is not the
best for another, but even the face of this building was
impressive. 2. Edward Cullen's face was perfect, his lips
flawless, his teeth brilliant, his voice irresistible. 3. Edward
made a face when he kissed Bella, because he didn’t want to
let her go. 4. Remember the most important thing in business is
to save face no matter what happens. 5. They were standing
face to face, I was afraid Edward would kill Jake. 6. “The
bread has got hard, dad. How can you eat that?” 7. Michael
Porter tells us about strategy’s job, but for some people it is
really hard to understand how it works. 8. I saw that, Edward
tried so hard to preserve his humanity. 9. Jacob is a person of
hard language and witted mind. 10. “It looked like a flight or
something how did you do that so fast? You wasn’t here”.
11. If you think that a simple flight will help you to solve these
problems, you are deeply wrong. 12. It just a flight of folly,
she will never love someone like me. 13. The airplane
appeared undamaged, but would undoubtedly be washed down
and inspected thoroughly before resuming its interrupted flight
to Acapulco. 14. All along, he had believed that seventy-five
thousand dollars was the top limit for airport-purchase
insurance for an overseas flight. 15. We went up two flights of
stairs on a dilapidated staircase that at one time must have been
luxurious. 16. You have to believe to make it real, it’s the only
way to get what you want to achieve. 17. I got it, you don’t
want to spend the rest of you life like a normal, real person.
18. Charlie got us sitting together in my room, I was absolutely
lost. 19. “I’ve got to break this connection, before it's too late”,
– he whispered. 20. “You know, Scarlett, money will come but
never comes to good and this house is proof of the axiom.
21. At the same time, the structure of deposits as part of broad
money, indicates that other deposits in domestic currency grew
at the highest rates (29.0 percent). 22. The model of the station
won two Grand Prix awards at expositions in Paris (1937) and
Brussels (1958). 23. She was not only a good model, but a
good housewife. 24. It would help me fight like a wildcat or
run like a deer. 25. Run upstairs and get the iodine. 26. He
was running from danger, being terrified to death. 27. He was
talking the other night about how much he hated Frog Point
and being Brent Faraday and running for mayor. 28. The car
ran along the highway. 29. This bus runs between New Haven
and Hartford. 30. Let the water run before you drink it.
31. The news of his promotion ran all over town.
Exercise 2. Paraphrase the following sentences paying
attention to the different meanings of the words in bold type.
Translate them into Ukrainian.
1. a) Dick was indeed eager to get a little smattering of
Spanish, and perhaps he was not really quite so stupid as he
pretended to be. b) Нis hair was still thick and dark, with just a
smattering of salt and pepper at each temple. 2. a) She must
chirp and sing, and hop from place to place, and eat and drink,
and preen her wings and do at least a dozen different things
every minute. b) She always spends ages preening herself
before she goes out. c) Why, they know when I praise them
and preen themselves. 3. a) Bids through the host of thousand
trumpets blare. b) It was almost dark outside now, and the
lights in her house were blaring already. 4. a) The kitchen
would be a mess – dishes in a sink, the detritus of meal
preparation left across the counters, cheese going hard, and a
knife left in the butter. b) All above that is terminal moraine,
rock detritus piled upon rock foundation by the glacier.
5. a) She didn’t have her best friend’s flair for drama b) His
carefully developed flair for character study, guessed them
from the first. c) And she gathered impressions swiftly, and,
moreover, had a natural flair for all that was first-rate, original
or strange. 6. a) I was unjust enough to load him with the guilt
of his plot against me. b) I would give all the money in my
pocket to be with those dear little women at the round table in
the saloon, or on the grass-plot in the garden. c) Amelia’s
mother was driving the two of them home from the cinema –
and a graphic retelling of the plot of Fatal Attraction was
under the way. d) Can a sweet Flower make a plot and tell lies
like the old doctor? 7. a) A gram-atom is the mass, in grams, of
one mole of atoms in a monatomic element. b) Upon one
cheek he had a mole, not unbecoming. c) Its extreme
downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by
waves. d) Susannah finished work and emerged, blinking
mole-like, from her darker, air-conditioned office. 8. a) Vera
had her old baby title of Flapsy? Which somehow suited her
restless nervous motions, and Agatha had become Nag. b) And
thump, thump, goes the farmer's nag over the narrow bridge of
the weir. 9. a) Peel the pumpkin and remove the seeds, cut into
small pieces, and put into a saucepan. b) He peeled the jacket,
and kissed the side of her neck.
Change of Meaning
The meaning of a word can change in the course of
time. Changes of lexical meanings can be proved by
comparing contexts of different times. Transfer of the meaning
is called lexico-semantic word-building – when the outer
aspect of a word does not change. The reasons of semantic
changes can be extra-linguistic and linguistic, e. g. the lexical
meaning of the noun pen was due to extra-linguistic causes.
The word pen comes from the Latin word penna (a feather of a
bird). As people wrote with goose pens the name was
transferred to steel pens which were later on used for writing.
Still later any instrument for writing was called a pen. On the
other hand this may occur on linguistic reasons, e. g. the
conflict of synonyms when a perfect synonym of a native word
is borrowed from some other language one of them may
specialize in its meaning, e. g. the noun tide in Old English
was polysemantic and denoted time, season, hour. When the
French words time, season, hour were borrowed into English
they ousted the word tide in these meanings. It was specialized
and now means regular rise and fall of the sea caused by
attraction of the moon.
Lexical meaning reflects the concept which is
expressed by the given word. If the polysemantic structure of
the word is subjected to a diachronic semantic analysis, then
the word, as a rule, retains its original meaning, but at the same
time acquires several new ones. Hence one should distinguish
the following meanings comprising the set treated
1) The direct meaning, subdivided into: a) the primary
(etymological) meaning, e. g. wall – L. vallum –
“fortification”; b) the derived meaning: wall – “upright
structure, forming part of a room or building”.
2) The secondary meaning, subdivided into: a) the
secondary denotative meaning: wall – “inside surface of cavity
or vessel”, e. g. walls of the heart; reactor wall; b) the
figurative meaning, e. g. wall of partition/between persons;
wall of fire; wall of hostility.
In his work “Prinzipien des Sprachgeschichte” the
German scientist Herman Paul suggested the most complete
classification. It is based on the logical principle. According to
him, there are two main ways where the semantic change is
gradual (specialization and generalization), two momentary
conscious semantic changes (metaphor and metonymy) and
also secondary ways: gradual (elevation and degradation),
momentary (hyperbole and litote).
The process of development of a new meaning (or a
change of meaning) is called transference – the name of one
object is transferred onto another, proceeding from their
similarity (of shape, color, function, etc.) or closeness (of
material existence, cause/effect, instrument/result, part/whole
relations, etc.).
Linguistic Metaphor
This type of transference is based on resemblance
(similarity). A new meaning is a result of associating two
objects (phenomena, qualities, etc.) due to their outward
The noun eye has for one of its meaning ‘hole in the
end of a needle’ which developed through transference based
on resemblance. Metaphors may be based on different types of
similarity, for instance, similarity of shape, position, colour,
function, etc.: е. g. the neck of a bottle, the teeth of a saw, to
catch an idea, etc.
The noun drop has several meanings: ‘a small particle
of water or other liquid’, ‘ear-rings shaped as drops of water’
(e. g. diamond drops), and ‘candy of the same shape’ (e. g.
mint drops) both these meanings are also based on
Words that denote animals and their actions may be
used metaphorically to denote human qualities. Such cases
belong to zoosemy, e. g. a fox (“a crafty person”), an ass (“a
stupid, foolish, or stubborn person”), to wolf (“to eat
greedily”), a cock (“a leader, chief person”), a bear (“a gruff,
clumsy, bad-manner person”), etc.
Metaphoric epithets, that denote human qualities, are
often applied to inanimate objects: a treacherous calm, cruel
heat, a sullen sky, pitiless cold, a virgin soil etc.
Linguistic Metonymy
This type of transference is based on contiguity. The
association is based upon subtle psychological links between
different objects and phenomena, sometimes traced and
identified with much difficulty. The two objects may be
associated together because they often appear in common
situations, and so the image of one is easily accompanied by
the image of the other.
The simplest case of metonymy is synecdoche. Here
the name of a part is applied to the whole or vice versa, e. g. to
earn one’s bread; I don’t want to provoke the police (a single
policeman is meant), etc. In metonymic epithets certain
properties of the whole are ascribed to the part, e. g.
threatening eyes (it is the person who is threatening), etc.
Metonymy has several different types: a) the material
an object is made of may become the name of the object, e. g. a
glass, iron, etc; b) the name of the place may become the name
of the people or of an object placed there, e. g. the House –
members of Parliament, Fleet Street – bourgeois press, the
White House – the Administration of the USA etc; c) names of
musical instruments may become names of musicians, e. g. the
violin, the saxophone; d) the name of some person may become
a common noun, e. g. boycott was originally the name of an
Irish family who were so much disliked by their neighbours
that they did not mix with them, sandwich was named after
Lord Sandwich who was a gambler. He did not want to
interrupt his game and had his food brought to him while he
was playing cards between two slices of bread not to soil his
fingers. e) names of inventors are very often terms to denote
things they invented, e. g. watt, om, roentgen, etc f) some
geographical names can also become common nouns through
metonymy, e. g. holland (linen fabrics), Brussels (a special
kind of carpets) , china (porcelain), etc.
Other examples of metonymy include:
The foot of a bed is the place where the feet rest when
one lies in the bed, but the foot of a mountain got its name by
another association: the foot of a mountain is its lowest part, so
that the association here is founded on common position.
By the arms of an arm-chair we mean the place where
the arms lie, so that the type of association here is same as in
the foot of the bed. The leg of a bed (table…) is a part which
serves as a support, the original meaning “the leg of a man or
The meaning of the adj. sad in Old English was
‘satisfied with food’ (cf. the Ukr. ситий). Later this meaning
developed a connotation of a greater intensity of quality and
came to mean ‘oversatisfied with food’, having eaten too
much. Thus, the meaning of the adj. sad developed a negative
evaluative connotation and now described the physical unease
and discomfort of a person who has had too much to eat. The
next shift of meaning as to transform the description of
physical discomfort into one of spiritual discontent because
these two states often go together. So the modern meaning of
the word ‘sad’ → ‘melancholy’, ‘sorrowful’ was developed.
The scope of transference in metonymy is much more
limited than that of metaphor, which is quite understandable:
the scope of human imagination that identifies two objects
(phenomena, actions) on the grounds of commonness of their
innumerable characteristics is boundless while actual relations
between objects are more limited.
Synecdoche, metaphor and metonymy can be found in
one sentence. Example: “Fifty keels ploughed the deep”, where
“keels” is the synecdoche as it takes a part (of the ship) as the
whole (of the ship); “ploughed” is the metaphor as it
substitutes the concept of ploughing a field for moving through
the ocean; and “the deep” is the metonymy, as “deepness” is an
attribute associated with the ocean.
Exercise 3. Pick up and comment on the metaphors in
the following sentences.
1. All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women
merely players, they have their exits and their entrances. 2. She
is the true angel in my life. 3. My gym is a prison. 4. He is a
snake in the grass. 5. I do not follow the herd, I take my own
path. 6. John is the Tiger Woods of his golf team. 7. His hair
was bone white. 8. She is an early bird. 9. The teacher
descended upon the exams, sank his talons into their pages,
ripped the answers to shreds, and then, perching in his chair,
began to digest. 10. She wore a sunny smile that brightened up
the room. 11. The pines were roaring on the height, the winds
were moaning in the night. 12. O! Will you be staying, or will
you be flying? Your ponies are straying, the daylight is dying!
13. What has roots as nobody sees is taller than trees, up, up it
goes, and yet never grows? – It is mountain. 14. The wind goes
on from West and East, all movement in the forest ceased.
15. The Mountain was standing alone; dwarves have left it
long ago. 16. The typical teenage boy’s room is a disaster area.
But Charlie is a young lady! 17. Humor is the shock absorber
of life; it helps us take the blows. 18. Marriage – is a souvenir
of love. 19. There is an ocean of things for us to talk about and
arrange. 20. I meant to see more of her. But I saw nothing. She
was in the warehouse of intensions. 21. A wise man does not
thrust all his eggs to one basket. 22. Wit is the only wall
between us and the dark. 23. He covered me with kisses of fire.
24. Life is an incurable disease. 25. America is a tune. It must
be sung together. 26. Anger is a bow that will shoot sometimes
when another feeling will not. 27. I was lost in a sea of
nameless faces. 28. The detective listened to her tales with a
wooden face. 29. It was extremely hot during the day. We were
almost roasted! 30. What had awakened him from his train of
thought that caused a tear to appear on his face was the sweet
melody of his favourite song. 31. I'm oxygen and he's dying to
breathe. 32. Time, you thief. 33. Books are the mirrors of the
soul. 34. People say that eyes are windows to the soul.
35. Memories are bullets. Some whiz by and only spook you.
Others tear you open and leave you in pieces. 36. Laughter is
the sun that drives winter from the human face. 37. Religion is
the opium for the people. 38. I am not plain or average or God forbid – vanilla. I am peanut butter rocky road with
multicolored sprinkles, hot fudge and a cherry on top.
39. Every word was a singing sparrow, a magic trick, a truffle
for me. 40. If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was
hurricane. 41. Delia was an overbearing cake with
condescending frosting, and frankly, I was on a diet. 42. A
man may break a word with you, sir, and words are but wind.
43. Life is a journey. Time is a river. The door is a jar. 44. The
wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees. 45. The
moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas. 46. The
road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor. 47. His
eyes were hollows of madness. 48. Time is a dressmaker
specializing in alterations. 49. The rain came down in long
knitting needles.
Exercise 4. Explain the logic of metonymic
transference in the following sentences.
1. The pen is mightier than the sword. 2. He writes a
fine hand. 3. Fox News has always maintained. 4. As the bullet
pierced his chest, I watched the life flow out of him. 5. She is
the shoulder I always cry on. 6. The blueberry pie wants to see
the chef. 7. We have always remained loyal to the crown. 8.
They gradually ascended for half-a-mile, and then found
themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the
wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley
House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the
road with some abruptness wound. 9. Elizabeth’s heart was
delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had
done more, or where natural beauty had been so little
counteracted by an awkward taste. 10. King’s hand does this
better than anyone else. We finished the book about three nonstop hours after we picked it up. 11. Smaug’s eyes certainly
looked fast asleep, when Bilbo peeped once more from the
entrance. 12. My poor legs, my poor legs and poor me. It is a
dangerous and long adventure for a little hobbit, I say.
13. You’re a fool head, William, as I’ve said afore this
evening. 14. My eyes are exited! This is the real elvish blade.
15. Calm down, boy. We must wait to hear from the crown
until we make any further decisions. 16. Don’t trouble your
little peanut head over the problem. It is not worth. 17. Yes, we
were together. We even engaged. But one day she just broke
my heart. 18. One table was playing dominoes already. 19. The
Stars and Stripes dangled languidly from a flagstaff. 20. She
smoothed the front other dress with the palms of soft, clever
hands. 21. I stopped at a bar and had a couple of double
Scotches. They didn't do me any good. All they did was make
me think of Silver Wig, and I never saw her again. 22. The
White House asked the television networks for air time on
Monday night. 23. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me
your ears.
Exercise 5. Pick up and comment on the linguistic and
stylistic metonymy in the following sentences.
1. “Is it true, thought Pendennis, lying on his bed and
gazing at a bright moon without, that lighted up a corner of his
dressing table, and the frame of a little sketch of Fairoaks
drawn by Laura, and hung over his drawers—is it true that I
am going to earn my bread at last, and with my pen?” 2. He
went over to the hawk-faced man. He was dead. There was
some currency and silver in his pockets, cigarettes, a folder of
matches from the Club Egypt, no wallet, a couple of extra clips
of cartridges. 3. George Dial was tall, dark, handsome,
Hollywoodish. 4. George Dial, already fully dressed in smart
gray flannels, came around the corner and lifted one of the
drinks. 5. It was parked almost at the next corner, a shiny black
Packard with a little discreet chromium here and there. 6. He
felt as the hand explored his pockets, his armpits. 7. De Ruse
stood perfectly still except that his head jerked a little when the
hard metal hit his face. 8. You won't ever touch a nickel of
the big boy's money. 9. It would be misleading to suggest that
this is exactly trending, but at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford
last night small but significant pockets of people were wrapped
proudly in Stars And Stripes. 10. A military option to strike
against Iran is still on the table if Tehran fails to live up to
commitments to curb its nuclear ambitions, the White House
insisted last night. 11. Whitehall prepares for a hung
parliament. 12. France determined to channel anger in play-off
return against Ukraine. 13. I had mustered my spirits again,
and was ready for my knife and fork. 14. I am not the last boy
in the school. I have risen in a few months over several heads.
15. When he took out his yellow pocket-handkerchief with his
hand that was cased in white kids, a delightful odour of musk
and bergamot was shaken through the house. 16. “Can I have
the honour of speaking with major Pendennis in private?” – he
began – “I have a few word for your ear. I am the bearer of a
mission from me friend Captain Costigan” 17. She reached for
a pack of Kents and shook one loose and reached for it with
her lips. 18. A few tentative raindrops splashed down on the
sidewalk and made spots as large as nickels. 19. It's painfully
simple, Commander. There are a lot of Machiavellians in this
world. 20. He was a tall, thin man in gray hairs, sixty or close
to it or a little past it. He had blue eyes as remote as eyes could
be. 21. Let me give you a hand. 22. One table was playing
dominoes already. 23. “His eyes were pretty shiny," she
confessed; "and he didn't have no collar, though he went away
with one. But maybe he didn't have more in a couple of
glasses”. 24. He took the Browning and the Swinburne from
the chair and kissed them. He took another look at himself in
the glass, and said aloud, with great solemnity: “Martin Eden,
the first thing to-morrow you go to the free library an' read up
on etiquette. Understand!” 25. But the fire having done its duty
of boiling the young man's breakfast-kettle, had given up
work for the day, and had gone out, as Pen knew very well.
26. He's in dance. 27. The White House isn't saying anything.
28. He's got a Picasso. 29. From her cradle she was selfwilled; the very circumstances of her life had developed that
self-will in her. 30. There is a mixture of the tiger and the ape
in the character of a Frenchman. 31. I've got a new set of
wheels. 32. She's planning to serve the dish early in the
evening. 33. The Yankees have been throwing the ball really
well, and they have been hitting better than they have been in
the past few seasons. 34. The pen is mightier than the sword.
35. England decides to keep check on immigration. 36. He’s a
big question mark to me. 37. He writes a fine hand.
38. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. 38. We
have always remained loyal to the crown. 39. The House was
called to order. 40. Can you please give me a hand carrying
this box up the stairs? 41. She works with a newspaper.
42. The suits on Wall Street walked off with most of our
savings. 43. The Oval Office was busy in work. 44. The
library has been very helpful to the students this morning.
45. Learn how to use your eyes properly! 46. The restaurant
has been acting quite rude lately. 47. The Pentagon will be
revealing the decision later on in the morning. 48. The cup is
quite tasty. 49. If we do not fill out the forms properly, the
suits will be after us shortly. 50. The White House will be
announcing the decision around noon today. 51. We must wait
to hear from the crown until we make any further decisions.
Broadening and Narrowing of Meaning
Sometimes, the process of transference may result in a
considerable change in the range of meaning. For example, the
verb to arrive (French borrowing) comes from English and had
the narrow meaning “to come to shore, to land”. In modern
English it has greatly widened and developed the general
meaning “to come”. Here we come across broadening or
generalization of meaning. The meaning developed through
transference based on contiguity, but the range of the second
meaning is much broader. In such cases the meaning of a word
becomes more general in the course of time. The transfer from
a concrete meaning to an abstract one is most frequent, e. g.
ready (a derivative from the verb ridan - ride) meant “prepared
for a ride”, now its meaning is “prepared for anything”.
Journey was borrowed from French with the meaning “one day
trip”, now it means “a trip of any duration”. All auxiliary verbs
are cases of generalization of their lexical meaning because
they developed a grammatical meaning: have, be, do, shall,
will when used as auxiliary verbs are devoid of their lexical
meaning which they have when used as notional verbs or
modal verbs, e. g. cf. I have a new car and I have bought a new
car. In the first sentence the verb have has the meaning
“possess”, in the second sentence it has no lexical meaning, its
grammatical meaning is to form Present Perfect.
Narrowing (or specialization) of meaning is a process
contrary to broadening. It is a gradual process when a word
passes from a general sphere to some special sphere of
communication, e. g. case has a general meaning
“circumstances in which a person or a thing is”. It is
specialized in its meaning when used in law (a law suit), in
grammar (a form in the paradigm of a noun), in medicine (a
patient, an illness). The difference between these meanings can
be revealed from the context. The meaning of a word can
specialize when it remains in the general usage. It occurs in the
case of the conflict between two absolute synonyms when one
of them specializes in its meaning to remain in the language,
e. g. the English verb starve was specialized in its meaning
after the Scandinavian verb die was borrowed into English. Die
became the general verb with this meaning because in English
there were the noun death and the adjective dead. The meaning
of starve was “to die of hunger”.
The next way of specialization is the formation of
Proper names from common nouns, it is often used in
toponimics, e. g. the City – the business part of London,
Oxford – university town in England, the Tower – originally a
fortress and palace, later – a prison, now – a museum.
It is interesting to trace the history of the word girl. In
the Middle English it had the next meaning of ‘a small child of
either sex’. Then the word underwent the process of
transference based on contiguity and gained the meaning of ‘a
small child of the female sex’, so that the range of meaning was
narrowed. In its further semantic development the word
gradually broadened its range of meaning. At first it came to
denote not only a female child but, also, a young unmarried
woman, later, only young woman, so that its range of meaning
is quite broad.
Some more examples:
deer → any beast → a certain kind of beast;
meat → any food → a certain food product;
voyage → any trip or journey → a journey by sea or water.
In all these words the second meaning developed
through transference based on contiguity, and when we speak
of them as examples of narrowing of meaning we imply that
the range of the second meaning is more narrow than that of
the original meaning.
Exercise 6. Comment on the narrowing or broadening
of meaning.
1. a) Occasionally pheasants, quail, game fowl and
turkeys can be infected. b) Neither fish, flesh, nor fowl.
2. a) On its own, being a decent person is no guarantee that you
will act well, which brings us back to the one protection we
have against demagogues, tricksters, and the madness of
crowds, and our surest guide through the uncertain shoals of
life: clear and reasoned thinking. b) “Ask that demagogue of a
Marius if he is not the slave of that little tyrant of a Cosette”.
3. a) Calliand was a lucky accident. b) While witnesses have
told of chaotic scenes immediately after the accident, motorists
knew instinctively to leave the tunnel. 4. a) Cool jazz, as a
major style began to splinter into several other styles during the
1950’s. b) Even though they were old, she thought they were
pretty cool. 5. a) Dogs use each of the same senses to
communicate, but selective breeding has altered the standard
forms of wolf communication. b) Canis familiaris, also known
as “dog,” is essentially a domesticated wolf.
Elevation and Degradation
Elevation is a transfer of the meaning when it becomes
better in the course of time, e. g. knight originally meant “a
boy”, then “a young servant”, then “a military servant”, then “a
noble man”. Now it is a title of nobility given to outstanding
people; marshal originally meant “a horse man” now it is the
highest military rank etc.
Degradation is a transfer of the meaning when it
becomes worse in the course of time. It is usually connected
with nouns that denote common people, e. g. villain originally
meant “working on a villa” now it means “a scoundrel”.
Hyperbole and Litote
Hyperbole is a transfer of the meaning when the
speaker uses exaggeration, e. g. to hate (doing something), (not
to see somebody) for ages. Hyperbole is often used to form
phraseological units, e. g. to make a mountain out of a molehill,
to split hairs, etc. Litote is a transfer of the meaning when the
speaker expresses affirmative with the negative or vica versa,
e. g. not bad, no coward, etc.
Semantic Groups of Words
Synonyms are words different in their outer aspects, but
identical or similar in their inner aspects. In other words
synonyms are words with the same or similar meanings. Words
that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of
being a synonym is called synonymy. The word comes from
Ancient Greek syn (σύν) (“with”) and onoma (νομα) (“name”).
Examples of synonyms are the words begin and commence.
Likewise, if we talk about a long time or an extended time,
long and extended become synonyms.
Synonyms can be of any part of speech (such as nouns,
verbs, adjectives, adverbs or prepositions), as long as both
words are the same part of speech. Here are more examples of
English synonyms:
– verb
buy and purchase
– adjective
big and large
– adverb
quickly and speedily
– preposition
on and upon
Note that synonyms are defined with respect to certain
senses of words; for instance, pupil as the “aperture in the iris
of the eye” is not synonymous with student. Likewise, he
expired means the same as he died, yet my passport has
expired cannot be replaced by my passport has died.
In English, many synonyms emerged in the Middle
Ages, after the Norman conquest of England. While England’s
new ruling class spoke Norman French, the lower classes
continued to speak Old English (Anglo-Saxon). Thus, today
we have synonyms like the Norman-derived people, liberty
and archer, and the Saxon-derived folk, freedom and bowman.
Some lexicographers claim that no synonyms have
exactly the same meaning (in all contexts or social levels of
language) because etymology, orthography, phonic qualities,
ambiguous meanings, usage, etc. make them unique. Different
words that have similar meaning usually differ for a reason:
feline is more formal than cat; long and extended are only
synonyms in one usage and not in others (for example, a long
arm is not the same as an extended arm). Synonyms are also a
source of euphemisms.
In contemporary research the term synonyms may be
used for words with the same denotation, or the same
denotative component, but differing in connotations, or
connotative components.
Types of Semantic Components
The leading semantic component in the semantic
structure of a word is usually termed denotative (or sometimes
referential) component. The denotative component expresses
the conceptual content of a word.
The following list presents denotative components of
some English verbs:
to glare → to look
to glance → to look
to shiver → to tremble
to shudder → to tremble.
The definitions given in the right column only partially
describe the meaning of their corresponding words. To give
more or less full picture of the meaning of a word, it is
necessary to include in the scheme of analysis additional
semantic components which are termed connotations or
connotative components.
Let us give connotative components to our verbs.
to glare →to look
in anger,
rage, etc.
1.Connotation of duration
to glance → to look
1.Connotation of duration
to shiver → to tremble
with the cold
1.Connotation of duration
2. Connotation of cause
to shudder → to tremble briefly
with horror,
disgust, etc.
1.Connotation of duration
2.Connotation of cause
3.Emotive Connotation
2.Emotive connotation
Types of Connotations
1. The connotation of degree and intensity (to surprise
– to astonish – to amaze).
2. The connotation of duration (to stare – to gaze – to
3. Emotive connotation (alone – single – lonely –
4. The evaluative connotation (well-known – famous;
to produce – to create – to manufacture).
5. The connotation of manner (to like – to admire – to
love – to adore worship).
6. The connotation of cause (to shudder – to tremble).
It is easy to understand what the word really means by
singling out denotative components. A meaning can have two
or more connotative components.
A group of synonyms is usually studied with the help
of their dictionary definitions (definitional analysis). The data
from various dictionaries are analyzed comparatively. After
that the definitions are subjected to transformational operations
(transformational analysis). In this way, the semantic
components of each analyzed word are signed out.
Here are the results of the definitional and
transformational analysis of some synonyms for the verb to
To stare:
To glare:
To gaze:
To glance:
To peep:
to look + steadily, lastingly + in surprise,
curiosity, etc.
to look + steadily, lastingly + in anger, rage, fury.
to look + steadily, lastingly + in tenderness,
to look + briefly, in passing.
to look+ steadily, lastingly + by stealth, through
an opening or from a conceded location.
The common denotation shows that the words are
synonyms. The connotative components highlight their
In modern research the criterion of interchangeability is
applied. According to it, synonyms are defined as words which
are interchangeable at least in some contexts without
considerable alteration in denotational meaning. But this
theory has been much criticized. Synonyms are not, cannot and
should not be interchangeable, or they would simply become
useless ballast in the vocabulary.
The Dominant Synonym
In every synonymic group there is a word called the
dominant synonym.
Ex: to shine – to gleam – to sparkle – to glitter – to
glimmer – to shimmer – to flash – to blaze; fear – terror –
The dominant synonym expresses the notion common
to all synonyms of the group in the most general way, without
contributing any additional information as to the manner,
intensity, duration, etc. Its meaning which is broad and
generalized, covers the meaning of the rest of the synonyms.
Here, the idea of interchangeability comes into its own. But
such substitution would mean a loss of the additional
Types of Synonyms
Academician Vinogradov has established the only
existing classification system for synonyms.
There are 3 types of synonyms:
1) ideographic synonyms are words conveying the
same concept but differing in shades of meaning, e. g. fast –
rapid – swift – quick, etc.;
2) stylistic synonyms differ in stylistic characteristics,
e. g. to begin (neutral) – to commence (bookish) – to start
(neutral) – to initiate (bookish);
3) absolute synonyms coincide in all their shades of
meaning and in all their stylistic characteristics and, therefore,
are interchangeable in all contexts, e. g. compounding –
composition; word-building – word-formation.
Absolute stylistic synonyms are rare in the vocabulary.
The vocabulary system tends to abolish it either by rejecting
one of the absolute synonyms or by developing differentiation
characteristics in one or both of them (see Table 10).
Table 10 ˗- Types of synonyms
e. g. fast –
rapid – swift
– quick, etc
e. g. to begin
(neutral) –
to commence
(bookish) –
to start (neutral) –
to initiate (bookish)
e. g.
compounding –
word-building –
Sources of Synonymy
Synonymy has its characteristic patterns in each
language. Its peculiar feature in English is the contrast between
simple native words stylistically neutral, literary words
borrowed from French and learned words of Greco-Latin
origin. This results in a sort of stylistically conditioned triple
“keyboard” that can be illustrated by the following:
Native English
to rise
to end
to gather
to ask
Words borrowed
from French
to mount
to finish
to assemble
to question
Words borrowed
from Latin
to ascend
to complete
to collect
to interrogate
The important things to remember is that it is not only
borrowings from foreign languages but other sources as well
that have made increasing contributions to the stock of English
synonyms. There are, for instance, words that come from
dialects, and, in the last hundred years, from American English
in particular. As a result speakers of British English may make
use of both elements of the following pairs, the first element in
each pair coming from the USA: gimmick :: trick; dues ::
subscription; long distance (telephone) call :: trunk call; radio ::
wireless. There are also synonyms that originate in numerous
dialects as, for instance, clover :: shamrock; liquor :: whiskey
(from Irish); girl :: lass, lassie or charm :: glamour (from
Exercise 7. Pick out synonyms from the sentences
below. Comment on their shades of meaning and stylistic
1. Miss Elphistone was white and pale. 2. He is
continuously tense and worried, easily upset, and constantly
haunted by future calamities or future errors. 3. It can cause
only sad and tragic kind of entertainment. 4. Soldiers began to
fire and shoot with all guns they had. 5. We were hungry so he
suddenly became so unselfish and generous. 6. Due to aliens’
gas it was too hazardous and dangerous to stay outdoors.
7. Welcome to the new wave of fear. If you were scared
before, you’ll be terrified now. 8. She must have been a
foolish, dull woman, or else very inexperienced. 9. “I’ll give
him ‘go out’!” he shouted like an insane, crazy thing. 10. They
said good-day, and all departed together. 11. It is not only your
skill and dexterity that fascinates me. 12. Her cleanliness and
purity had reacted upon him. 13. Nothing upsets me more than
being hungry; I snarl and snap and burst into tears. 14. It was a
shark attack, clear and simple. 15. I don’t believe she took their
curses and graces any more seriously than she took the aches
and pains of characters in a novel.
Exercise 8. Classify synonyms in bold type according
their types.
1. a) Lula was standing hand on hip, watching me spar
with Connie. b) Morelli looked at me for a couple beats.
2. a) Ranger cut his eyes to Tank. b) Her demon eyes
narrowed. 3. a) My life is too weird. b) Ranger is the mystery
man. 4. a) And I didn't have a clue how to choose between
them. b) Seemed like a bad idea to say something that might
ratchet up the competition between them. 5. a) You're using
Bob to lure me to your house. b) I'm surprised Morelli isn't
trying to seduce me. 6. a) I crossed the lot to the large glass
double doors leading to the offices. b) You are a huge
problem, Stephanie. 7. a) Now, as the meeting was about to
begin, Leslie turned to Amy, who was serving coffee. b) I
worked the last shift at Dave’s Dogs, and I was supposed to
start shutting down a half hour before closing so I could clean
up for the day crew. 8. a) Leslie Stewart was beautiful and had
an IQ of 170, and nature had taken care of the rest. b) He was
even more attractive in person than in his photographs.
9. a) One early fall evening, Oliver prepared dinner at his
home, a charming house in Versailles, a small town near
Lexington. b) They were a spectacular-looking couple, Oliver
dark and handsome, and Leslie with her lovely face and figure
and honey-blond hair. 10. a) The next few weeks were filled
with frantic preparations for the wedding. b) Senator Todd
Davis was without doubt Kentucky’s most influential citizen,
and the story of his daughter’s marriage and of the groom’s
jilting Leslie was big news. 11. a) Rita Lonergan froze for a
moment, and then screamed. b) I grabbed my big black leather
shoulder bag and yelled good-bye to my roomie, Rex-thehamster. 12. a) The pay wouldn’t be great but the benefits
would be pretty decent. b) I’m sure we’re all pleased that big
business is doing so well and that corporate profits have never
been higher. 13. a) I’d been taking a time-out from Morelli and
Ranger, hoping to get a better grip on my feelings, but I wasn’t
making much progress. b) “We’ve got to start some damage
control,” Peter Tager was saying. 14. a) The entire factory was
housed in a mammoth three-story redbrick building. b) At
lunchtime, in the hotel dining room, large platters of
sandwiches were placed in the centre of the table.
15. a) General, the Tribune would like to do some coverage on
the meeting you had with the president on October fifteenth.
b) Okay, I don’t actually have an interview appointment, but
Karen Slobodsky works in the personnel office, and she said I
should look her up if I ever wanted a job. 16. a) It happened at
the Borgata, a restaurant in a castle-like old Italian village
setting, the dinner was superb. b) Romantic plans made now
will be fulfilled, excellent prospects for the future. 17. a) He
said it’s a disaster waiting to happen. b) It was a simple,
optimistic statement, with not the slightest portent of the
dramatic chain of events that was about to occur.
18. a) Leslie’s father was a handsome man, patrician and
intellectual. b) An imposing-looking man seated on the couch
rose as Oliver came in. 19. a) She was an extraordinarily
intelligent child. b) And what the hell is a young kid doing in
an expensive suite like this? 20. a) Father asked me to talk to
you, Oliver, he’s very upset. b) “Tomorrow can we climb up to
the top of the monument, Daddy?” he begged. 21. a) The
introductions seemed to go on forever. b) The people walking
the streets behind Dana continued as though they had heard
nothing. 22. a) Dana watched him leave. b) There was no
chance that the president was going to let them get away with
this. 23. a) In Suite 825, the Imperial Suite, there was total
silence. b) I could see absolute minimum of storage space in
that garage. 24. a) It was a Filipina maid who found the dead
girl’s body sprawled on the floor. b) This recently deceased
girl remains an obscure figure. 25. a) As far as Oliver was
concerned, it was a marriage of convenience, and he was
careful to see that he did nothing to disrupt it. b) He’s trying
to destroy everything I've worked for.
More “decent” synonymic substitutes used instead of
indecent, impolite or too direct words are called euphemisms.
A euphemism is a generally innocuous word, name, or phrase
that replaces an offensive or suggestive one. Some
euphemisms intend to amuse, while others intend to give
positive appearances to negative events or even mislead
entirely. Euphemisms are used for dissimulation, to refer to
taboo topics (such as disability, sex, or death) in a polite way,
and to mask profanity. The opposite of euphemism roughly
equates to dysphemism.
The word euphemism comes from the Greek word
ευφημία (euphemia), meaning “the use of words of good
omen”, which in turn is derived from the Greek root-words
‘eu’ (ευ), “good/well” + “pheme” (φήμι) “speech/speaking”,
meaning “glory, flattering speech, praise”. Etymologically,
‘the eupheme’ is the opposite of ‘the blaspheme’ (evilspeaking). The term euphemism itself was used as a
euphemism by the ancient Greeks, meaning “to keep a holy
silence” (speaking well by not speaking at all). A euphemism
also may be a substitution of a description of something or
someone rather than the name, to avoid revealing secret, holy,
or sacred names to the uninitiated, or to obscure the identity of
the subject of a conversation from potential eavesdroppers.
Some euphemisms are intended to be funny.
When a phrase is used as a euphemism, it often
becomes a metaphor whose literal meaning is dropped.
Euphemisms may be used to hide unpleasant or disturbing
ideas (stupid → unwise, drunk → mellow, to lie → to distort
the facts, etc.), even when the literal term for them is not
necessarily offensive. This type of euphemism is used in public
relations and politics, where it is sometimes called
doublespeak. Sometimes, using euphemisms is equated to
politeness. There are also superstitious euphemisms (devil →
deuce, dickens), based on the idea that words have the power
to bring bad fortune and religious euphemisms, based on the
idea that some words are sacred, or that some words are
spiritually imperilling.
Euphemisms can also be treated within the synchronic
approach, because both expressions, the euphemistic and the
direct one, co-exist in the language and form a synonymic
opposition. Not only English but other modern languages as
well have a definite set of notions attracting euphemistic
circumlocutions. These are notions of death, madness,
stupidity, drunkenness, certain physiological processes, crimes
and so on. For example: die :: be no more :: be gone :: lose
one’s life :: breathe one’s last :: join the silent majority :: go
the way of alt flesh :: pass away :: be gathered to one’s
A prominent source of synonymic attraction is still
furnished by interjections and swearing addressed to God. To
make use of God’s name is considered sinful by the Church
and yet the word, being expressive, formed the basis of many
interjections. Later the word God was substituted by the
phonetically similar word goodness: For goodness sake /
Goodness gracious / Goodness knows!
Many euphemisms fall into one or more of these
categories: foreign terms, abbreviations, abstractions,
indirections, mispronunciation, longer (usually Latinate)
There is some disagreement over whether certain terms
are or are not euphemisms. For example, sometimes the phrase
visually impaired is labelled as a politically correct euphemism
for blind. However, visual impairment can be a broader term,
including, for example, people who have partial sight in one
eye, a group that would be excluded by the word blind.
Exercise 9. State which words are replaced by
1. It was the name of the man who had been walking
along the Oxford Canal at the time when Joanna Franks passed
away – when Joanna Franks was supposedly murdered.
2. They’re all asleep. 3. The remains of Joanna Franks were
found at Duke’s Cut on the Oxford Canal at about 5.30am on
Wednesday 21st June 1859. 4. Sad, however, from Morse’s
point of view, was the unequivocal assertion made here that
the body was still warm. 5. Do you mean he's lost his life?
6. The protagonist, ‘the cave-man in a lounge suit’, is the
maddening, irascible and fascinating Professor George Edward
Challenger. 7. Shirley, would you go powder your nose? I have
things to discuss with Loulie. 8. After all, losing weight by
losing your lunch is never a goal. 9. She was wearing a white
leotard that showed off her ample proportions. 10. Before an
agency can furlough employees, it must seek approval of its
plan from the State Personnel Board. 11. By comparison,
private correctional facilities held only 10.2% of the total
adults in 1998. 12. First he sent Pat to a specialist to investigate
why, after nine months of marriage, there was still no bun in
oven. 13. It includes people who are temporarily between jobs
because they are moving, etc. 14. “Are there any houses of ill
repute in Foxglove?” he said. 15. At first everything was O.K.
but suddenly he felt a call of nature. 16. For drinkers of more
adult beverages, there is a special establishment. 17. We had a
friend whose parents completely furnished their house with
stuff that fell off the back of the track. 18. The dog was bad, so
veterinarian had to put her to sleep. 19. Two pirates had bitten
the dust. 20. There are also concerns that present policies are
not only ineffective but create collateral damage.
Modern English is exceptionally rich in homonymous
words and word-forms. It is held that languages where short
words abound have more homonyms than those where longer
words are prevalent. Therefore it is sometimes suggested that
abundance of homonyms in Modern English is to be accounted
for by the monosyllabic structure of the commonly used
English words.
Two or more words identical in sound or spelling, or
both in sound and spelling but different in meaning,
distribution and origin are called homonyms. The term is
derived from Greek “homonymous” (homos – “the same” and
onoma – “name”) and thus expresses the sameness of name
combined with the difference in meaning. The state of being a
homonym is called homonymy.
Walter Skeat classified homonyms according to their
spelling and sound forms and he pointed out three groups:
perfect homonyms, homographs and homophones:
1. Perfect homonyms (or homonyms proper) which are
identical both in sound and spelling, e. g. back n “part of the
body” – back adv “away from the front” – back v “go back”;
ball n “a gathering of people for dancing” – ball n “round
object used in games”; bark n “the noise made by dog” – bark
v “to utter sharp explosive cries” – bark n “the skin of a tree”.
2. Homographs which are identical in spelling but
different in sound, e. g. bow [bou] – bow [bau]; lead [li:d] –
lead [led]; sewer [‘soue] – sewer [sjue]; tear [tie] – tear
[tee]; wind [wind] – wind [waind] and many more.
3. Homophones which are identical in sound but
different in spelling, e. g. arms – alms; buy – by; him – hymn;
knight – night; piece – peace; rain – reign; scent – cent; steel
– steal; write – right and many others. These words are a very
common source of confusion when writing. Common
examples of sets of homophones include: to, too, and two;
they're and their; bee and be; sun and son; which and witch;
plain and plan; key and quay; sow and sew, etc. (see Table 11).
Table 11 ˗- Homonyms according to their spelling and
sound forms
(or proper)
e. g: back n “part of
the body” – back
adv “away from the
front” – back v “go
e. g. bow [bou] –
bow [bau];
lead [li:d] –
lead [led];
row [rou] –
row [rau]
e. g.
arms – alms;
buy – by;
him – hymn;
knight – night;
not – knot
Another classification was suggested by Professor
A. I. Smirnitskiy. He added to Skeat’s classification one more
criterion: grammatical meaning. He subdivided the group of
perfect homonyms in Skeat’s classification into two types of
homonyms: perfect which are identical in their spelling,
pronunciation and their grammar form, and homoforms which
coincide in their spelling and pronunciation but have different
grammatical meaning. Professor A. I. Smirnitskiy classified
homonyms into two large classes: 1) full homonyms, 2) partial
1) full homonyms are words, which represent the same
category of parts of speech and have the same paradigm, e. g.
wren n. (a member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service) –
wren n. (a bird).
2) partial homonyms are subdivided into three
a) simple lexico-grammatical partial homonyms are
words, which belong to the same category of parts of speech.
Their paradigms have only one identical form, but it is never
the same form, e. g. (to) found v. – found v. (past indef., past
part. of to find), (to) lay v. – lay v. (past indef. of to lie).
b) complex lexico-grammatical partial homonyms are
words of different categories of parts of speech, which have
identical form in their paradigms, e. g. rose n. – rose v. (past
indef. of to rise), maid n. – made v. (past indef., past part. of to
c) partial lexical homonyms are words of the same
category of parts of speech which are identical only in their
corresponding forms, e. g. to lie (lay, lain) v. – to lie (lied, lied)
v., to hang (hung, hung) v. – to hang (hanged, hanged) v. (see
Table 12).
Table 12 ˗- Homonyms according to professor Smirnitskiy's
partial homonyms
full homonyms
e. g. wren n.
(a member of the
Women’s Royal
Naval Service) –
wren n. (a bird)
simple lexicogrammatical partial
e. g. (to) found v. –
found v. (past indef.,
past participle of
to find)
complex lexicogrammatical partial
e. g. rose n. – rose v.
(past indef. of to rise),
maid n – made v
(past indef.,
past participle of
to make)
partial lexical
e. g. to lie (lay, lain) v.
– to lie (lied, lied) v.,
to hang (hung, hung) v.
– to hang (hanged,
hanged) v.
Homonyms may be classified by the type of their
meaning. In this case one should distinguish between:
1. Lexical homonyms which belong to the same part
of speech, e. g. plane n. (літак) – plain n. (рівнина), light a.
(світлий) – light a. (легкий).
2. Grammatical homonyms which belong to different
parts of speech, e. g. row v. (гребти) – row n.(ряд), weather n.
(погода) – whether conj. (чи).
3. Homoforms which are identical only in some
paradigm constituents, e. g. scent n. – sent (Past Ind. and Past
Part. of send), seize v. – sees (Pr. Ind., 3d p. sing. of see).
From the viewpoint of their origin, homonyms are
divided into etymological and historical.
Etymological homonyms are words of different origin.
Their formal coincidence is the result of various factors:
phonetical changes in native and borrowed words, changes in
spelling, etc. E. g. M. E. base І (підлий) L. basis > O. E.
base > M. E. base II (основа, підвалина); O. E. mal > M. E.
mole І (родимка); O. E. mol > M. E. molle > M. E. mole II
Historical homonyms are those which result from
disintegration (split) of polysemy. At present there is not any
connection between their meanings, though they can be traced
back to the same etymological source, e. g. nail (ніготь) :: nail
(цвях) < O.E. naeg(e)l; beam (промінь) :: beam (балка,
бантина) < O.E. beam.
Sources of Homonyms
1. Phonetic changes which words undergo in the
course of historical development. Two or more words which
were formerly pronounced differently may develop identical
sound forms.
Night and knight were not homonyms in Old English as
the initial k was pronounced. In Old English the verb to write
had the form written, and the adjective right had the form reht,
2. Borrowing is another source of homonyms. A
borrowed word may, in the final stage of its phonetic
adaptation, duplicate in form either a native word or another
borrowing. So, in the group of homonyms rite, n. – to write, v.
– right, adj. the second and the third words are of native origin
whereas rite is a Latin borrowing. Match, n. (a game) is a
native, and match, n. (a slender short piece of wood used for
producing fire) is French borrowing.
3. Word building also contributes significantly the
growth of homonymy, and the most important in this respect is
conversion. Such pairs of words as comb – to comb, pale – to
pale are numerous in the vocabulary. Homonyms of this type
refer to different categories of parts of speech, are called
lexico-grammatical homonyms. Shortening is a further type of
the word-building increases the number of homonyms: fan
(shortened from fanatic) and fan (cf. the Ukr. віяло, опахало,
вентилятор). Words made by sound-imitation can also form
pairs of homonyms with other words: bang (a loud, sudden
noise) – bang (cf. the Ukr. чуб).
In all the mentioned cases the homonyms developed
from two or more different words, and their similarity is purely
Another source: two or more homonyms can originate
from different meanings of the same word when, for some
reason, the semantic structure of the word breaks into several
parts. This type of formation is called split polysemy. Let us
consider the history of three homonyms:
board, n. – a long and thin piece of timber;
board, n. – daily meals, esp. as provided for pay, e. g.
room and board;
board, n. – an official group of persons who direct
some activity, e. g. a board of directors.
These three words are in no way associated with one
another. Yet board has a meaning “table”. It developed from
the meaning “a piece of timber” by transference based on
contiguity (association of an object and the material from
which it is made). The meanings “meals” and “an official
group of persons” develop from the meaning “table” also by
transference based on contiguity. It was meaning ‘table’ which
served as a link to hold together all the parts.
Exercise 10. Classify the words in bold type into
homophones, homographs and homonyms proper.
1. a) It’s made out of wood. b) “The skaters would
normally perform their stunts and tricks there,” May explains.
2. a) “A half – pipe can be dangerous. Skateboarders wear
protective gear,” May points out. b) “Staying safe is
important,” Buzz agrees. “Now where is my notebook?”
3. a) “Good luck!” Buzz tells May. “Go take the lead in this
competition!” b) “I feel nervous”, May says. “My legs feel as
if they are made of lead”. 4. “May I sail with you in May?”
5. Mouse: Deer, I’m very glad to have such dear friends.
6. But he’s unable to see that Oscar prefers his presence to his
presents once in a while. 7. a) It’s my birthday present to him.
b) “I can fill in,” Ollie says. “I’d be happy to present the Big
Air Jam, with Buzz”. 8. a) “Dad, buy me a ball!” b) “Bye, Osc,
I’m in a hurry,” answered Mark and hung on. 9. a) “What a
nice scent, Nicky! Hilary Duff “With love?” asked Ally.
b) “Ughmn. My father sent it to me last Christmas,” said
Nicky climbing the ladder. 10. a) I’d like to go to the sea. b) “I
think it’s amazing to see the autumn sunset,” said Carolyn a bit
enigmatically. 11. a) Hermione slammed her Arithmancy book
down on the table so hard that bits of meat and carrot flew
everywhere. b) It was of a very handsome young man called
Dorian Gray and when Lord Henry saw it, he wanted to meet
this young man. 12. a) If I had known that you were ill I would
have gone to see you. b) They entered it in one of its lowest
points, and drove for some time through a beautiful wood,
stretching over a wide extent. 13. a) But they won fair and
square, even Wood admits it. b) I took one last look out at the
statue. 14. a) It was the worst I have ever seen. b) The whole
scene was almost too perfect to disturb. 15. a) I may thank
you, Eliza, for this piece of civility. b) They infest the darkest,
filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain
peace, hope and happiness out of the air around them.
16. a) She couldn’t come to the party, which was a pity. b) If
the one-eyed witch was boarded up too, he would never be
able to go into Hogsmeade again. 17. a) The journey to King’s
Cross was very uneventful compared to Harry’s trip on the
Knight Bus. b) Last Wednesday night, there were over a
thousand fans at Cardiff University Great Hall to see Coldplay.
18. a) What would you do if somebody gave you a lot of
money? b) “Though it is difficult,” said Jane, “to guess in what
way he can mean to make us the atonement he thinks our due,
the wish is certainly to his credit.” 19. a) And with his arm
around my waist, guiding me into my third-row seat, I was
reminded that the nice man attended the gym very regularly.
b) “This is such a waste of time,” Hermione hissed. 20. a) I
have a high respect for your nerves. b) “Hi,” I said, accepting
his kiss on the cheek and feeling distinctly underdressed in a
little Splendid T-shirt dress and Havaianas. 21. a) He is going
to fall into the hole. b) ‘And with Alex?’ Jenny asked,
signalling the waitress and ordering more or less the whole
dessert menu. c) For a hole in your roof or a whole new roof.
22. a) “Well, you know that old motorbike that Mick had for
years?” b) “No,” he shook his head, smiling. 23. a) Our boat
survived and I was trying to recover when my elder brother put
mouth close to my ear, and screamed out the horrifying word
‘Whirlpool!’ b) He did look at it and into it for half an hour,
was pleased with what the owner said in its praise, and took it
immediately. 24. Do you see the letter 'c' written in sea salt?
25. a) Nazan picked up me and stroked my tail. b) That is the
beginning of my tale. 26. a) He sees America as a crazy house.
b) The final issue deals with the right to seize the item. 27. A
much more terrible sight awaited one at the site of the
accident. 28. a) Suffice to say I’d never hammered a nail
before in my life, and Alberta knew it. b) My nails skewed at
odd angles or bounced free and took flight. 29. We must polish
the Polish furniture. 30. The glory and the beauty of new days
will always leave me in a heady daze! 31. a) “Face your
partners!” called Lockhart, back on the platform. “And bow!”
b) As he passed the door to the living room, Harry caught a
glimpse of Uncle Vernon and Dudley in bow ties and dinner
jackets. 32. a) “You're wrong,” he said aloud to the still and
silent hat. b) But they are the most dangerous creatures that
ever lived because there is nothing they will not do if allowed,
and nothing they will not be allowed to do. 33. a) Firstly, there
is a joint-stock piano in a great many of the boarding-houses.
b) In every little chamber that I entered, and at every grate
through which I looked, I seemed to see the same appalling
countenance. 34. a) Commissions in the service are distributed
on the same principle. b) The principal medical attendant
resides under the same roof; and were the patients members of
his own family, they could not be better cared for, or attended
with greater gentleness and consideration. 35. a) Ron went as
red as Ginny. b) “Lizzy, when you first read that letter, I am
sure you could not treat the matter as you do now.” 36. a) The
ladies were somewhat more fortunate, for they had the
advantage of ascertaining from an upper window that he wore
a blue coat, and rode a black horse. b) He was digging here,
one summer day, very industriously, when the wicket in the
outer gate chanced to be left open: showing, beyond, the wellremembered dusty road and sunburnt fields. 37. a) Restlessly,
without thinking she began to lift objects with her mind and
put them back down, the way a nervous woman awaiting
someone in a restaurant will fold and unfold her napkin. b) I
wake, of course, when we get under weigh, for there is a good
deal of noise. 38. a) Our road wound through the pleasant
valley of the Susquehanna; the river, dotted with innumerable
green islands, lay upon our right; and on the left, a steep
ascent, craggy with broken rock, and dark with fir trees. b) The
tip of Dumbledore's long, crooked nose was barely an inch
from Mrs. Norris's fur. 39. a) They passed a group of gloomy
nuns, a ragged man wearing chains, and the Fat Friar, a
cheerful Hufflepuff ghost, who was talking to a knight with an
arrow sticking out of his forehead. b) Four Hi-Presh-A Smart
Suits moved slowly out of the open hatchway of the salvage
craft and waded through the barrage of its lights toward the
monstrous shape that loomed darkly out of the sea night.
40. a) A ring at the doorbell sounded loudly. b) That golden
ring with diamond was very expensive but Robert bought it for
Betty. 41. a) A good rest was just necessary for him, because
of his being terribly tired. b) Two of the attackers were killed,
and the rest escaped. 42. a) The plane was just a dot on the
horizon. b) Her beauty was the valuable dot from nature.
43. May one give us peace in all our States. And the other – a
piece for all our plates. 44. See shadows of a ghost ship lost
at sea.
Exercise 11. Read the following jokes and say on what
linguistic phenomenon they are based.
1. – Is life worth living?
– It depends upon the liver.
2. – How much is my milk bill?
– Excuse me, Madam, but my name is John.
3. A tailor guaranties to give his customers the perfect fit.
4. – Why is it so wet in England?
– Because many kings and queens have reigned there.
5. – Where do you find giant snails?
– On the ends of giants' fingers.
6. – Waiter, what is this?
– It’s bean soup, sir.
– Never mind what it has been. I want to know what it is now.
7. – I got sick last night eating eggs.
– Too bad.
– No, only one.
8. – I spent last summer in a very pretty city in Switzerland.
– Berne ?
– No, I almost froze.
9. – Officer (to driver in parked car): Don’t you see this sign
“Fine for parking”?
– Driver: Yes, officer, I see and agree with it.
10. – Boyfriend: What is your favourite music group?
– Girlfriend: I love U2.
– Boyfriend: I love you too, but what is your favourite music
11. A woman goes to the doctor complaining of water on the
knee. “What should I do?” she asks. “Wear pumps” replies her
12. “Mine is a long tale!” said the Mouse, turning to Alice,
and sighing. “It is a long tail, certainly.”
13. “Of course it is,” said the Duchess, who seemed ready to
agree to everything that Alice said: “there's a large mustardmine near here. And the moral of that is – 'The more there is
of mine, the less there is of yours.”
14. “You can make doors, windows, and blinds?” “Oh, yes
sir!” “How would you make a Venetian blind?”
The man scratched his head and thought deeply for a
few seconds. “I should think, sir,” he said finally, “the best
way would be to punch him in the eye.”
Exercise 12. Provide homonyms for some words.
Classify homonyms according to prof. Smirnitskiy’s
classification system.
1. Teacher: Here is a map. Who can show us America?
Nick goes to the map and finds America on it.
Teacher: Now, tell me who found America?
2. Father: I promised you to buy a car if you passed your exam,
and you have failed. What were you doing last term?
Son: I was learning to drive a car.
3. a) When I started to strike a match for a light, he stopped
me. b) He is not a man to lose the match without your knowing
that he has tried and tried everything not to lose.
4. I was arrested at the airport. Just because I was greeting my
cousin Jack! All that I said was "Hi Jack", but very loud.
5. a) The sun rose and the children ran into the garden. b) He
stands before a rose in bloom; the rose we see is an expression
of its inner spirit, a shadow, a representation of spirit in
material form.
6. They were too close to the door to close it.
7. "Then the words don't fit you," said the King looking round
the court with a smile. There was a dead silence.
Exercise 13. Comment on homoforms in bold type.
Compare their initial forms.
1. a) They lay their suitcases just on the table, that
irritates this old man. b) She lay in the comfortable bed.
2. a) Caroline found the real miracle among yellowed letters.
b) It wasn’t easy for Justin to found such great company.
3. a) They bound Bob’s arms and legs with rope. b) All
children bound in the yard every day, but not she. Monica is
unusual child. 4. a) “Jack slew him!” b) These lazy guys just
always slew around in their chairs. 5. a) The lymphatic liquid
discharged from John’s bad wound. b) Daniel wound his
watch and put it on his wrist. 6. a) That tender rose was for her
the red star on the stalk. b) They rose into the spacious
bedroom. 7. a) Shelly was a kitchen maid in one of the most
prestigious hotels of Manchester. b) She in really made him
happy. 8. a) “Is that your car?” “No, mine is parked over the
road.” b) The ship struck a mine and sank. 9. a) Just the
thought of more food made her feel sick. b) He thought all
that time only about Mary. 10. a) Bridget made a dramatic
entrance into the room. b) The wonderful flowers entrance all
people who live in that region. 11. a) He wedged the door open
with a bit of wood. b) The dog bit him and made his hand
bleed. 12. a) She held out her left hand. b) Frances left work
early to meet her mother.13. a) They had one daughter. b) He
won the Tour de France last year. 14. a) “Don't lie in the sun
for too long”- the little Nett heard from her mother when she
went to the river. b) They lie everything. You are the best girl
in the world. 15. a) They can hang him for murder. b) He
wanted to hang the picture in the hall. 16. a) The police are
doing all they can to find her. b) They just can people in that
ideas. 17. I will love you always... and I'll love you in all
ways. 18. The bandage was wound around the wound.
19. a) My uncle works at the electric plant. b) Mom sent me to
buy a tomato plant. 20. a) The cat looked through the wooden
blind. b) Helen Keller was both deaf and blind. 21. a) You
need flour, sugar and eggs to make a cake. b) A daisy is a
beautiful flower. 22. a) We read a fairy tale in Library. b) A
rabbit has a fluffy tail. 23. My niece could see Grease both in
Greece and in Nice. 24. a) I know the answer. b) There is no
more water in the jug. 25. a) There is a big hole on my shirt.
b) Kelvin ate the whole pineapple all by himself.
26. a) Today’s weather is fine. b) I am buying the car whether
you like it or not. 27. a) I would love to have a piece of cake.
b) The communities live together in peace. 28. a) Which
colour do you like, green or blue? b) Snowwhite’s stepmother
was a witch. 29. The sale on red apples at the fair seemed
really fair because they were only 25 cent. 30. a) Fishermen
fish for rainbow trout from the bank of the lake. b) The bank
held my money for withdrawing and depositing.
Exercise 14. Classify homonyms according to prof.
Smirnitskiy’s classification system into a) full lexical
homonyms, b) simple lexico-grammatical partial homonyms,
c) complex lexico-grammatical partial homonyms, d) partial
lexical homonyms.
1. a) I saw a football and it was a perfect match.
b) Please, give me a match. 2. a) He is to found a huge
corporation. b) He found other people's documents at the bus
stop. 3. a) These lipsticks rose her lips. b) Level of the
economy rose to a maximum. 4. a) This girl is a very serious
person because she is a wren (a member of the Women’s
Royal Naval Service). b) A wren is a very beautiful bird. 5. a) I
usually can tomatoes with my mother in August. b) I can go
there but I do not want. 6. a) His cottage is located on the
opposite bank. b) I went to the bank to withdraw money from
their own account. 7. a) I lay on the sofa at home. b) She
always lies to her parents. 8. a) The left column is the
interference with traffic. b) I left my university when I went
abroad. 9. a) A ball is a sphere or any spherical body. b) I went
to the ball to France. 10. a) Yesterday I left my book at home.
b) This store is left of me. 11. A bass was painted on the head
of a bass drum. 12. After many years they found the place
where they will found a new town. 13. If you're going to lie to
me, you will lie under the ground. 14. The insurance was
invalid for the invalid. 15. The soldier decided to desert his
desert in the desert. 16. "But they were in the well," Alice said
to the Dormouse, not choosing to notice this last remark. "Of
course they were," said the Dormouse: "well in". 17. How can
I intimate this to my most intimate friend? 18. The driver
turned left and left the main road. 19. a) The dog gave me a
loud bark. b) The tree bark was oozing sap. 20. a) I beat
everyone in the race. b) That song has a fast beat. 21. a) The
fly was bussing around the food. b) I don’t like to fly in a
helicopter. 22. A lean cat could lean on a skunk! 23. Why
don't we toast with a toast? 24. A bear can bear very cold
temperatures. 25. a) She wears a sparkly ring. b) Do you hear
those bells ring? 26. Looking through the window, I saw an
enormous saw on sale at the hardware store. 27. a) I rose up
from my seat to sharpen my rose coloured pencil. b) I picked
up a rose from my garden for mother’s day. 28. a) I tear my
paper because it sounds bad when you hear it. b) My eyes tear
when I see my report card. 29. a) The well started to flood
because too much water came in. b) “Well done, Max. You
finished your math homework.” 30. a) The fan broke down so
I didn’t know how to cool myself. b) I am a fan of Owl City,
a one man band whose new song “Firefly” is really great.
There are several meanings of the word paronym. The
term paronym comes from the Greek para “beside” and onoma
“name”. Paronyms are the words that are kindred in origin,
sound form and meaning and therefore liable to be mixed but
in fact different in meaning and usage and therefore only
mistakenly interchanged.
Paronym is a word similar to another in sound; the
partial coincidence in outward form occurs simply by chance
and is not conditioned by semantic or word-formation
processes. Some scholars regard as paronyms words with the
same root that are similar in structure or sound and are the
same part of speech or have common grammatical features.
But the definition that shows up most often is that “paronyms
are words pronounced alike, but have different meanings”, or
in other words, words that have the same root. Another word
for paronym is cognate.
This is the case with the adjectives ingenious and
ingenuous. The first of these means “clever” and may be used
both of man and of his inventions and doings, e. g. an
ingenious craftsman, an ingenious device. Ingenuous means
“frank”, “artless”, as an ingenuous smile.
The likeness may be accidental as in the verbs affect
and effect. The first means “to influence”, the second – “to
produce”. These come from different Latin verbs. The
similarity may be also due to a common source. It is
etymologically justified in alternate “succeeding each other”
and alternative “providing a choice”, or consequent “resulting”
and consequential “important”, or continuance “an
uninterrupted succession” and continuation which has two
distinct meanings “beginning again” and “sequel” as the
continuation of a novel.
Paronyms can be categorized in several ways. There are
two different types of paronyms: those that look like they’re
related and those that don’t. Coming from the same root
doesn’t mean that words came into English at the same time or
in the same way. So, while paronyms beauty and beauteous
share the first five letters, paronyms dubious and doubtful look
far less alike, though they both have the letters d, u, and b in
the first syllable.
Another way to categorize paronyms is by whether or
not they sound alike. Paronyms may be differentiated by
having different prefixes or suffixes and added word syllables
can change stress and other elements of pronunciation.
Paronyms beauty and beautiful sound identical for the first
syllable. Paronyms legal and legislate sound quite different,
with the pronunciation of both ‘e’ and ‘g’ changing when the
suffix is applied, even though the spelling of the first three
letters is identical.
A third way to categorize paronyms is the ones that are
words in the same language and the ones include words in
more than one language. English, with words from so many
languages, also has paronyms with many different languages,
although Spanish, French, and German are three that often are
referred to.
Exercise 15. Deduce the meanings of the paronyms.
Translate the sentences into Ukrainian.
1. a) In Sites of Historical Sorcery the inn was the
headquarters for the 1612 goblin rebellion, and the Shrieking
shack’s supposed to be the most severely haunted building in
Britain. b) Bakewell is a historic town in Derbyshire. 2. a) The
great secret of a successful marriage is to treat all disasters as
incidents and none of the incidents as disasters. b) About half
of all cases of breast cancer occur in women over the age of
65, and its incidence rises with increasing age. 3. a) The
lawyer's indiscreet remarks to the media provoked an angry
response from the judge. b) The indiscrete nucleus does not
have a nuclear membrane and is therefore not separate from
the cytoplasm. 4. a) To read of a detective's daring finesse or
ingenious stratagem is a rare joy. b) She was enchanted by his
ingenuous expression and frank blue eyes. 5. a) It is only
because miners sweat their guts out that superior persons can
remain superior. b) We are just an advanced breed of monkeys
on a minor planet of a very average star. 6. a) One sees great
things from the valley, only small things from the peak. b) A
recession begins just after the economy reaches a peak of
activity and ends as the economy reaches its trough. 7. a) The
Quidditch team scheduled an extra practice session for
Thursday. b) Auckland has a warm climate, with fertile
farmland and seas that teem with fish. 8. a) ‘Does the order
still own that cloister on the road to Cardos?’ she asked. b) Let
us deal with the specific issues that have been raised when we
cluster items. 9. a) She is your bride. b) This is my last chance;
I had to bribe a helicab to get me here. 10. a) She, Scarlett
O’Hara was lying behind a negro cabin, in the midst of ruins,
too sick and too weak to move, and no one in the world knew
or cared. b) Further properties of thick spaces are given in the
following lemma. 11. a) It tasted as grape juice but not as
sweet. b) A trickle of sweat rolled down her brow. 12. a) I am
not such a bear, you know, as you think. b) Why didn’t he just
buy lots of milk and beer and keep it in the refrigerator?
13. a) So different from me. b) Making contact with you is
quite difficult. 14. a) I can feel your heart, you know. b) If a
company requests approval prices then it is necessary to fill in
those forms and send by e-mail to EMI (or send on CD).
15. a) “What, is it you?” said Candide, “you live?” b) She
would just as soon leave him, but that wouldn’t be wise.
16. a) The trouble with you, kid, is you just don’t give a damn.
Really. b) Will this spell doom for developing countries?
17. a) It would not be politic to ignore them. b) Health care has
become a major political issue in recent years. 18. a) An
inhumane dictator tortured and murdered thousands of his own
people. b) She had an almost inhuman desire to succeed.
19. a) We've received credible information about the group's
location. b) Few people are credulous enough to believe such
Antonyms are words belonging to the same part of
speech, identical in style, expressing contrary or contradictory
notions. Also antonyms may be defined as two or more words
of the same language belonging to the same semantic field,
identical in style and nearly identical in distribution, associated
and often used together so that their denotative meanings
render contradictory or contrary notions. Antonyms are also
called opposites. For example: good – bad, badly, badness,
evil, evilness, ill, malevolent, malicious, poorly, wicked.
It is more or less universally recognized that among the
cases that are traditionally described as antonyms there are at
least the following three groups.
1. Contradictories which represent the type of
semantic relations that exist between pairs like dead and alive,
single and married, perfect and imperfect, etc. To use one of
the terms is to contradict the other and to use not before one of
them is to make it semantically equivalent to the other, cf. not
dead=alive, not single=married.
2. Contraries differ from contradictories mainly
because contradictories admit of no possibility between them.
One is either single or married, either dead or alive, etc.
whereas contraries admit such possibilities. This may be
observed in cold – hot and cool and warm which seem to be
intermediate members. Thus we may regard as antonyms not
only cold and hot but also cold and warm. Contrary antonyms
are also mutually opposed but they are gradable, e. g. old and
young are the most distant elements of a series like: old :
middle-aged : young.
3. Incompatibles. Semantic relations of incompatibility
exist among the antonyms with the common component of
meaning and may be described as the reverse of hyponymy,
i. e. as the relations of exclusion but not of contradiction. To
say morning is to say not afternoon, not evening, and not night.
The negation of one member of this set however does not
imply semantic equivalence with the other but excludes the
possibility of the other words of this set. A relation of
incompatibility may be observed between colour terms since
the choice of red, e. g., entails the exclusion of black, blue,
yellow and so on. Naturally not all colour terms are
incompatible. Semantic relations between scarlet and red are
those of hyponymy.
V. N. Comissarov in his dictionary of antonyms
classified them into two groups: absolute or root antonyms and
derivational antonyms (see Table 12).
1. Absolute (root) antonyms (those which have
different root), e. g. long – short, up – down, to start – to finish,
2. Derivational (affixal) antonyms (in which special
affixes or their absence express semantic opposition). The
presence or absence of negative affixes creates derivational
antonyms e. g. hopeful – hopeless, happy – unhappy, appear –
disappear, etc.
Table 12 ˗- Classification of antonyms according to
V. N. Comissarov
absolute or root
derivational (affixal)
e. g. long – short;
up – down
e. g. hopeful –
hopeless; happy –
By the nature of the relationship between the opposed
meanings we can figure out three categories of antonyms:
1. A gradable antonym is one of a pair of words with
opposite meanings where the two meanings lie on a continuous
spectrum. For example: young, old; early, late; empty, full;
dull, interesting.
2. A complementary antonym is one of a pair of words
with opposite meanings, where the two meanings do not lie on
a continuous spectrum, e. g. dead, alive; off, on; day, night;
exit, entrance; exhale, inhale; occupied, vacant; identical,
different. Leonard Lipka in the book “Outline of English
Lexicology” describes complementarity in the following way:
the denial of the one implies the assertion of the other, and vice
versa. John is not married implies that John is single. The type
of oppositeness is based on yes/no decision.
3. The third group includes converses, expressing
precede/follow, buy/sell, and lend/borrow exemplify this
category. Converses are sometimes called relational opposites.
They all express relationships between two (or more) people or
things. Take, for instance, the pair buy/sell: Brian sold the car
to Michael and Michael bought the car from Brian. Both
indicate that a particular transaction has taken place. But the
first sentence highlights Brian's role in the proceedings, while
the second focuses on Michael. Converseness is mirror-image
relations. A relational antonym is one of a pair of words with
opposite meanings, where opposite makes sense only in the
context of the relationship between the two meanings:
predator/prey, servant/master, parent/child, before/after, etc.
L. Lipka also gives the type which he calls directional
opposition up/down, consequence opposition learn/know,
antipodal opposition North/South, East/West. L. Lipka also
points out non-binary contrast or many-member lexical sets.
Here he points out serially ordered sets, such as scales: hot,
warm, tepid, cool, cold; colour words: black, grey, white;
ranks: marshal, general, colonel, major, captain, etc. There are
gradable examination marks: excellent, good, average, fair,
poor. He also points out cycles, such as units of time: spring,
summer, autumn, winter.
Polysemantic words usually have antonyms for each of
their lexico-semantic variants: a dull knife – a sharp knife, a
dull boy – a bright boy, etc.
Exercise 16. Translate the following sentences into
Ukrainian. Classify the words in bold type.
1. “Flash Wiggins makes scoring look easy,” Harold
tells Cassy. “But beating the goalie is difficult”. 2. “Krupp and
Smythe worked together to even the score,” Harold adds.
“Nothing can tear them apart!” 3. “You can help me make this
rough ice smooth again!” says the driver. 4. Father Bear “I’m
Father Bear and I sit in this great big chair.” Baby Bear “I’m
Baby Bear and I sit in that little chair”. 5. “Ah, but sometimes
it is more courageous to do the right thing, than rebel and do
the wrong thing, you know,” she said softly, meeting my eye.
6. He blushed and suddenly paled from nerves at the situation
he was in. 7. “Oh no, Nicky! For you it’s hard, but for
me…it’s very easy. I have known him for ages”. 8. “And then
we couldn’t sleep in the spacious room after being promised.
But I suppose, it will be better to sleep in narrow rooms”.
9. Anne had a young, brighter face and more delicate features
than the others; Marilla saw at her and felt herself old enough
to change her life. 10. “I can; and A-n-n looks dreadful, but A
– n – n - e looks so much more distinguished, but call me
Cordelia! It looks wonderful!” 11. A marvellously written
novel... rich with both ordinary and extraordinary realities.
12. This sparky debut novel... Enthralling from the first page,
this bittersweet fusion of fairy-tales and nightmares is
sugared by nostalgia and salted with sadness. 13. If speaking
is silver, then listening is gold (Turkish proverb). 14. Parents
must teach their children the difference between the good and
the bad. 15. Nothing as difficult as a beginning, in poetry,
unless perhaps the end. 16. The series is based on the lives of
group of people who are either married, single or "other",
other being defined as in a relationship. 17. The writer should
seek his reward in the pleasure of his work and in release from
the burden of his thought; and indifferent to aught else, cares
nothing for praise or censure, failure or success. 18. Nixon
seemed an awkward and unsure debater, while Kennedy came
across as a confident leader. 19. When people call this beast to
mind, they marvel more and more at such a little tail behind so
large a trunk before. 20. It presents both totally ordinary
characters and some extremely odd ones, and ranges in scope
from epic megamovies to private cell phone films on
microbudgets. 21. We discussed the rights and wrongs of
genetic cloning. 22. Cold and exhaustion were beginning to
drain his strength and he knew the children were suffering.
23. For Jason Locke a promise given is promise kept. 24. I had
many reasons, both selfish and unselfish, for not giving the
unnecessary openings. 25. My only love sprang from me only
hate. Too early seen unknown, and known too late! 26. The
storm disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. 27. The
marchers included black and white Americans, young and old.
28. Critics and supporters alike hailed his acceptance speech
as the “speech of his life”. 29. The poster said that the robbers
were wanted dead or alive. 30. He inhaled deeply and
exhaled slowly, trying to relax. 31. In the summer of 1988, the
Republican and Democratic parties each choose their
candidate for President. 32. Supporters of the Vietnam War
were known as hawks, while opponents were called doves.
33. Kennedy wanted Congress to pass laws to help the poor in
city slums and in rural areas. 34. Employment is a relationship
between two parties, usually based on a contract, one being the
employer and the other being the employee.
Functional Semantic Classes
Side by side with classifying words into lexicogrammatical classes known as parts of speech, modern
scholars make attempts to work out the classification of words
into functional semantic classes. Here it is limited to
considering two functional semantic classes which can be
clearly distinguished: those of qualifiers and responsives.
Qualifiers (Degree Modifiers)
Qualifiers (degree modifiers) are words used for
qualifying properties, states, etc. as to the degree of their
manifestation. The degree modifiers are adverbs that normally
modify and emphasize gradable words and answer the question
“How?”, “How far?”, “To what degree?”, “How much?”
Qualifiers provide readers with specific details. In other words,
they change how absolute or generalized a sentence can be.
For instance, ‘this sum is very large’ or ‘this sum is a great
deal bigger than I expected’, where the words ‘very’ and
‘great deal’ are the qualifiers.
Qualifiers are used only with adjectives and adverbs
preceding them to indicate the degree to which these gradable
words apply. More specifically, they derive from a group of
words called adverbs of degree, also known as degree adverbs.
However, when used grammatically as degree modifiers, these
words cease to be degree adverbs, because they no longer
quantify the idea they modify. Instead, they emphasize it
Qualifiers are subdivided into three groups:
1) intensifiers;
2) moderators;
3) limiters.
Intensifiers are degree words used to emphasize the
high degree of gradable adjectives and adverbs (very, too,
extremely, more, much, so, ever, most, really, utterly, exactly,
all too, a little too, a lot, even, far, etc.).
Moderators are degree words used to emphasize the
moderate degree of gradable adjectives and adverbs (almost,
rather, quite, kind of, enough, half, equally, mildly, somewhat,
reasonably, etc.).
Limiters are degree words used to emphasize the low
degree of gradable adjectives and adverbs (a little, a bit,
hardly, faintly, scarcely, slightly, less, least, etc.).
One should bear in mind that degree modifiers are
adverbs which lack the primary characteristic of adverbs: the
ability to modify verbs. They modify exclusively adjectives
and adverbs.
Exercise 17. Arrange the qualifiers in bold type
according to the degree of intensity.
1. Hindsight, our cruelest and most astute adviser, so
easily illuminates our errors of judgment, and yet in the middle
of life one seizes upon things that seem to mean so much. 2. I
saw Nathan sitting there nursing a bleeding elbow, tears in his
eyes, the temptation to touch it growing ever stronger as he
looked. 3. “The war is over, right?” he said, and smiled halfheartedly. 4. He clutched his face, couldn’t see a thing, and I
let go with the most almighty kick to his balls. 5. I had never
believed myself to be anything other than honest, straight as a
die, implacable almost in my attention to those things that
were right and just and equitable. 6. There was blackness
behind my eyelids, black and deep enough to swallow me.
7. People change a little every day, and sometimes you can
meet someone down the road and they are utterly different
from the person you thought they were…but then sometimes
it’s you who has changed, and they stay exactly the same, and
now you merely see them from a different point of view.
8. .And then suddenly, all too suddenly, she was gone,
breezing past me with her grace, her beauty, the scent of
something autumnal from her hair. 9. Hands big enough to
floor Marty Hooper, sensitive enough to fold an origami bird
in Benny’s Soda Shop. 10. Nathan came down a little later. I
said nothing. 11. I was talking, rambling a little… I remember
I was tired, really tired. 12. Perhaps Maurice’s mind was
patterned with equally vivid images, contrasts which had made
him a Socialist and which, even now, kept him one despite the
knowledge, which surely he shared, that his creed would
merely transfer the Lagonda to an owner equally. 13. The door
to the front room was slightly open, and peering through the
gap between the edge of the door and the frame I could see
movement on the floor behind the chair. 14. The careful
handwriting, the official-looking, very clean paper and the red
margin gave the manuscript the look of an affidavit or of an
examination script. 15. She held me a little too long for this
just to be the excitement of a chance meeting. 16. Now she and
her mother became mildly addicted to the risible awfulness of
a family drama series in which the characters apparently
physically and mentally unscathed by the traumas of the last
episode… 17. He knew with absolute certainty that the girl
was too young to be her sister and unlikely to be her niece, that
this was Mary Ducton’s daughter. 18. Harris spoke quite
kindly and sensibly about it. 19. It was easier to find her, a lot
easier than I thought. 20. “When a man asks himself what is
meant by action, he proves that he isn’t a man of action. Action
is a lack of balance. In order to act you must be somewhat
insane. A reasonably sensible man is satisfied with thinking”.
21. He didn’t know whether to feel angry he’d been cheated of
the kill, or sympathetic because we had encountered what
appeared to be a far worse fate. 22. Her face is very close to
mine: her warm breath brushes my skin. 23. “I suppose his life
hasn’t been exactly easy,” I say. 24. Alice did try to paint after
that, and it bored her so much she was quite alarmed. 25. He
felt extremely possessive about it as well as being conscious.
26. Still, she wasn’t daft enough to believe it would keep a
man content in the long run. 27. One is spare and dark, with a
cynical face, the other is rather broad-shouldered, with
graying hair. 28. So in a curious state of being at once both
exhilarated and quite calm. 29. When he’s almost finished his
second serving, he picks up the bowl. 30. The one who has the
kind of skin that peels in the sun. 31. Alice played the piano
reasonably well. 32. He shakes his head slightly, as though
denying that this is kindness at all. 33. After a little while,
Margot came and tried to cry. 34. The little house in which
Cora lived was hardly bigger than pantry. 35. She had
scarcely dismounted before the door swung open.
Exercise 18. Pick out all qualifiers and arrange them
according to the degree of intensity.
1. The entire defence was extremely well marshalled
and few attackers got through to fire off a shot. 2. His
performance in the final against West Germany was equally
assured, by a rasping shot from Haller after a mistake by
Wilson and a late equalizer that appeared to be helped along by
a German hand before finding its way into net. 3. Probably the
most instantly recognizable player on the planet, David trained
with Spurs as a youngster but set his heart on signing for MU.
4. Real have overtaken MU as the most popular club side in
the world, even if achievements on it still leave a lot to be
desired. 5. The most charismatic player ever to grace a football
field, George Best was the player who had it all and seemingly
threw it all away. 6. Although no doubt traumatized by the
experience, Bobby picked up the pieces of his career almost
immediately, collecting his first full cap for England the month
after the disaster. 7. All that was to change with the acquisition
of Di Stefano in 1953, perhaps the player who became most
responsible for the elevation to becoming the biggest in the
world. 8. Real was able to buy the player for $70,000, a very
small price to pay for the glories Alfredo was bring. 9. No
matter who was in charge of Real, the one thing they could
never replace or repeat was the ability of Alfredo Di Stefano, a
player many consider at least the equal of Pele in his prime.
10. His legend and status enough to earn him a standing
ovation more than thirty years after he left the stage he most
certainly graced. 11. That match had seen Tom play at right
wing, a position that had been the almost exclusive preserve of
Stan Matthews. 12. One of the most talented of player on the
field, Garrincha established an equally formidable reputation
of it. 13. I had a really bad feeling. Thinking ahead to whatever
hell brought the chief out of his comfy home in Oakland on a
Saturday. 14. I went after him – but I lost him. It really hit me
then. 15. Their somewhat absolutely lack-lustre performance in
Switzerland had the media and public alike calling for changes
to the side and Garrincha was handed an international debut in
1954. 16. This was the start of the 4-4-2 line-up that was to so
enthral the world with Garrincha linking especially well with
Pele. 17. Yet despite this, he was largely ignored and forgotten
when he retired. 18. It is very rare in the modern game to have
a striker as a captain, but Thierries awareness of what is
happening in all areas of the field made him an ideal candidate.
19. Kevin Keegan may not have been the most naturally gifted
player. 20. He settled in almost immediately at the club and,
although they were unable to topple Real from the top of the
league. 21. Spurs were desperately trying to sell both key
players. 22. Like many of his peers, Maradona found it
extremely difficult to make the transition from player to coach.
Responsives (Interjections)
The categorical features of responsives are as follows:
their non-nominating character, the communicative function of
response to the interlocutor’s utterance or a certain situation,
invariability and semantic intonational arrangement.
The bulk of the functional semantic class of
responsives is constituted by interjections (ah!, oh!, alas!,
etc.). However, this class includes a lot of words which
descended from other parts of speech (my!, boy!, hell!, swell!,
come!, rubbish! etc.). The interjection is a part of speech which
expresses various emotions without naming them.
According to their meaning, interjections fall under two
main groups, namely emotional interjections and imperative
ones. Emotional interjections express the feelings of the
speaker. They are: ah, oh, eh, uuuhhh, bravo, alas, huh, hell,
my God, okay, Jesus, etc. Imperative interjections show the
will of the speaker, his order or appeal to the hearer. They are:
here, hush, sh-sh, ssshhh, well, come, hey, now, etc.
Interjections may be also primary and secondary.
Primary interjections are not derived from other parts of
speech. Most of them are simple words: ah, oh, eh, ooh, pooh,
fie, bravo, hush, okay, hey, ow, uuuhhh, etc. Only a few
interjections are composite: heigh-ho!, hei-ho!, holla-ho!, geeho!, uh huh, etc. Secondary interjections are derived from other
parts of speech. They are homonymous with the words they are
derived from. They are simple or composite: well, now, so,
here, there, come, why, hell, Christ, gosh, Jesus Christ, my
God, trailer trash, Goddamn, oh god, etc.
Interjections are used as independent sentence-words or
independent elements of the sentence. One should also bear in
mind that formulas of courtesy, greetings, etc. should not be
regarded as interjections. Thus, good-bye, thank you are not
interjections because they do not express emotion or will.
Exercise 19. Comment on the responsives in bold type.
State to what parts of speech some of them can be traced back.
1. Ah, to hell with what’s right and what’s not. You
want something, you take it baby. 2. “Ssshhh,” he whispered.
“Quiet now…don’t you want to be wasting what little breath
you have left there, Daniel”. 3. Whaddaya figure huh? Ain’t
some folk prejudiced or what? 4. “Hell, Danny, take it easy,”
Linny told me. 5. “Don’t bite!” she hollered. “Ow, ow, ow…”
6. “Okay,” I said. “So I’m standing here in the room and I hear
someone screaming who I think is Linny Goldbourne”. 7. “Got
your date eh?” West went on. 8. My knees were weak, my
insides churning, and I anticipated the sound of his voice, the
Hey you! That would come any second. 9. Christ, Linny, he’s
my friend. 10. Hey, Danny, hold up there! 11. “My God,
Nathan,” she shouted. “When did you get back?” 12. “Okay,
just tell me what happened with Nathan and you after Linny
came back”. 13. Get up, go to work, mow and lawn, read the
paper… Jesus, could you imagine having a life like that?
14. “Ooh, ooh, Danny, that hurt,” I replied. 15. “Danny?” –
“Uh huh?” – “Tell me,” Father John repeated. 16. Hell, you
know what, guys? A couple of heavies came down and saw me
at Eve Chantry’s place. 17. And then he said it too. “Nigger!
Damned nigger!” 18. “Trailer trash,” Nathan went on. 19. I
could hear myself crying, and then making that sound once
more…Uuuhhh… 20. Hell, it was Christmas Eve. We
relaxed; we had a drink and a smoke. 21. When I opened my
eyes I could see his half-lit face right there above me through
the bars. “Jesus Christ!” I started. 22. I thought this was it.
This was the moment I die. This is when it goes really ugly and
they kick the living crap out of me, and Oh Lord Jesus Christ
Almighty, Mary Mother of God… 23. I felt a sound escaping
from my lips. Uuuhhh… 24. “So?” he prompted, and I leaned
back and looked at him, feeling strangely awkward. 25.…when
she said Well thank you, Frank, and thank you to all our
listeners today. It certainly has been a day of revelation, hasn’t
it? 26. Goddamn. He said Goddamn. So unlike Nathan.
27. Oh God, oh God, oh God…not like this…not like
this…any other way than this. 28. “Wow!” said Gary,
impressed. 29. “Oh! Don’t be stupid, Neil,” Alice said more
brutally than she intended. 30. “Bloody hell! Richard said
spitefully. 31. “Jesus!” I was wrong. 32. “Sh-sh,”she said. She
came over and took his hand.
Phraseology is a branch of linguistics which studies
different types of set expressions. If synonyms may be
figuratively referred to as the tints and colours of the
vocabulary, then phraseology is a kind of picture gallery, in
which are collected bright and amusing sketches of the
nation’s customs, traditions, recollections of its past history,
folk songs, fairy tales, quotations from the great poets, crude
slang witticisms, etc. Phraseology is not only the most
colourful, but probably the most democratic area of vocabulary
and it drowses its resources mostly from the very depths of
popular speech.
Phraseological unit is a word group with a fixed lexical
composition and grammatical structure; its meaning, which is
familiar to native speakers of the given language, is generally
figurative and cannot be derived from the meanings of the
phraseological unit’s component parts. The meanings of
phraseological units are the result of the given language’s
historical development. Phraseological units are word-groups
that cannot be made in the process of speech, they exist in the
language as ready-made units. They are compiled in special
dictionaries. The same as words phraseological units express a
single notion and are used in a sentence as one part of it.
In modern linguistics there is considerable confusion
about the terminology associated with these word-groups.
Along with the term “phraseological unit” generally accepted
in our country there exist a lot of other terms, such as: set
phrases, set-expressions, fixed word-groups, collocations,
word equivalents, idioms. Differences in terminology reflect
certain differences in the main criteria used to distinguish
between free word-groups and a specific type of linguistic
units generally known as phraseology. Phraseological units are
habitually defined as non-motivated word-groups that cannot
be freely made up in speech but are reproduced as ready-made
units. The term “set-phrase” implies that the basic criterion of
differentiation is stability of the lexical components and
grammatical structure of word-groups. The term “idioms”
generally implies that the essential feature of the linguistic
units under consideration is idiomaticity or lack of motivation.
An idiom (Latin: idioma, “special property”, f. Greek: δίωμα –
idiōma, “special feature, special phrasing”) is a combination of
words that has a figurative meaning owing to its common
usage. An idiom's figurative meaning is separate from the
literal meaning. There are thousands of idioms and they occur
frequently in all languages. There are estimated to be at least
twenty-five thousand idiomatic expressions in the English
Thus, an idiom is a phrase that has a meaning of its
own that cannot be understood from the meanings of its
individual words. Here are examples of idioms: to be fed up
with means “to be tired and annoyed with something that has
been happening for too long”; to rub someone the wrong way
means “to irritate someone”; by the skin of your teeth means
that something was successful, but only just barely. She passed
the test by the skin of her teeth means she almost didn’t pass. I
can't keep my head above water – to keep one's head above
water means to manage a situation. The term “idioms”
habitually used by English and American linguists is very
often treated as synonymous with the term phraseological
The essential features of phraseological units are
stability of the lexical components and lack of motivation.
Unlike components of free word-groups which may vary
according to the needs of communication, member-words of
phraseological units are always reproduced as single
unchangeable collocations.
Thus, for example, the constituent red in the free word167
group red flower may, if necessary, be substituted for by any
other adjective denoting colour (blue, white, etc.), without
essentially changing the denotational meaning of the wordgroup under discussion (a flower of a certain colour). In the
phraseological unit red tape (bureaucratic methods) no such
substitution is possible, as a change of the adjective would
involve a complete change in the meaning of the whole group.
A blue (black, white, etc.) tape would mean “a tape of a certain
colour”. It follows that the phraseological unit red tape is
semantically non-motivated, i. e. its meaning cannot be
deduced from the meaning of its components and that it exists
as a ready-made linguistic unit which does not allow of any
variability of its lexical components.
Grammatical structure of phraseological units is to a
certain extent also stable. Thus, though the structural formula
of the word-groups red flower and red tape is identical (A +
N), the noun flower may be used in the plural (red flowers),
whereas no such change is possible in the phraseological unit
red tape; red tapes would then denote “tapes of red colour” but
not “bureaucratic methods”.
Phraseological units can be classified according to the
ways they are formed, according to the degree of the
motivation of their meaning, according to their structure and
according to their part-of-speech meaning.
Ways of Forming Phraseological Units
A. V. Koonin classified phraseological units according
to the way they are formed. He pointed out primary and
secondary ways of forming phraseological units. Primary ways
of forming phraseological units are those when a unit is formed
on the basis of a free word-group: a) Most productive in
Modern English is the formation of phraseological units by
means of transferring the meaning of terminological wordgroups, e. g. in cosmic technique we can point out the
following phrases: launching pad in its terminological
meaning is “стартова площадка”, in its transferred meaning –
“пункт відправки”, to link up – “стикуватися, стикувати
космічні кораблі” in its tranformed meaning it means –
“знайомитися”; b) a large group of phraseological units was
formed from free word groups by transforming their meaning,
e. g. granny farm – “пансіонат для престарілих”, Troyan
horse – “комп'ютерна програма, навмисно складена для
пошкодження комп'ютера”; c) phraseological units can be
formed by means of alliteration, e. g. a sad sack – “нещасний
випадок”, culture vulture – “людина, що цікавиться
мистецтвом”, fudge and nudge – “ухильність”; d) they can be
formed by means of expressiveness, especially it is
characteristic for forming interjections, e. g. My aunt!, Hear,
hear! etc.; e) they can be formed by means of distorting a word
group, e. g. odds and ends was formed from “odd ends”;
f) they can be formed by using archaisms, e. g. in brown study
means “in gloomy meditation” where both components
preserve their archaic meanings; g) they can be formed by
using a sentence in a different sphere of life, e. g. that cock
won’t fight can be used as a free word-group when it is used in
sports (cock fighting ), it becomes a phraseological unit when
it is used in everyday life, because it is used metaphorically;
h) they can be formed when we use some unreal image, e. g. to
have butterflies in the stomach – “хвилюватися”, to have
green fingers – “процвітати як садівник-любитель”, etc.
i) they can be formed by using expressions of writers or
polititions in everyday life, e. g. corridors of power (Snow),
American dream (Alby), the winds of change (Mc Millan).
Semantic Classification of Phraseological Units
Phraseological units can be classified according to the
degree of motivation of their meaning. This classification was
suggested by academician V. V. Vinogradov. He developed
some points first advanced by the Swiss linguist Charles Bally
and gave a strong impetus to a purely lexicological treatment
of the material. It means that phraseological units were defined
as lexical complexes with specific semantic features and
classified accordingly. His classification is based upon the
motivation of the unit that is the relationship between the
meaning of the whole and the meanings of its component parts.
The degree of motivation is correlated with the rigidity,
indivisibility and semantic unity of the expression that is with
the possibility of changing the form or the order of components
and of substituting the whole by a single word though not in all
the cases.
According to Vinogradov’s classification all
phraseological units are divided into phraseological fusions,
phraseological unities and phraseological combinations. Other
scientists enlarge this classification and say that basing on the
semantic principle English phraseological units fall into the
following classes: fusions; half-fusions; unities; half-unities;
phraseological collocations; phraseological expressions.
Phraseological fusion is a semantically indivisible
phraseological unit which meaning is never influenced by the
meanings of its components. It means that phraseological
fusions represent the highest stage of blending together.
Sometimes phraseological fusions are called idioms under
which linguists understand a complete loss of the inner form.
The meaning of components is completely absorbed by the
meaning of the whole, by its expressiveness and emotional
properties, e. g. once in a blue moon (“very seldom”), a white
elephant (“a present one can’t get rid of”), cried for the moon
(“to demand unreal”), etc.
Half – fusions are stable word-groups in which the
leading component is literal while the rest of the group is
idiomatically fused, e. g. to buy smth for a song (“to buy smth
very cheaply”), to talk through one’s hat (“to talk foolishly”),
to pay through the nose (“to pay unreasonably much”), etc.
Unities – metaphorically motivated idioms, e. g. to
make a mountain out of a molehill (“to become excited about
trifles”), to play second fiddle (“to have a lower or less
important position”), to wash one's dirty linen in public (“to
tell people about one’s hidden sins and faults”), a snake in the
grass (“a person with harmful intentions”; “a hidden enemy”),
Half-unities – binary word-groups in which one of the
components is literal, while the other is phraseological bound
(the so-termed phrasemes), e. g. black frost (“frost without ice
or snow”), small talk (“polite talk about unimportant things”),
a tall story (“a lie”), Dutch courage (“courage of a drunk”),
husband's tea (“very weak tea”), to talk turkey (“to talk plainly
and honestly about practical matters”), etc.
Phraseological collocations (standardized phrases) –
word-groups with the components whose combinative power
(valency) is strictly limited, e. g. to make friends (but not ‘to
do friend’ or ‘to make comrades’), to bear a grudge, to break
silence, to make sure, to take into account, unconditional
surrender, ways and means, now and then, etc. Phraseological
collocation is a construction or an expression in which every
word has absolutely clear independent meaning while one of
the components has a bound meaning
Phraseological expressions – proverbs, sayings and
aphoristic familiar quotations, e. g. Birds of a feather flock
together (= Рибак рибака пізнає здалека); Still water runs
deep(= Тиха вода греблю рве); No pains no gains (= Без
труда нема плода); Something is rotten in the state of
Denmark (= Не все гаразд у Датському королівстві); Brevity
is the soul of wit (= Стислість – основа дотепності)
(W. Shakespeare); Fools rush in where angels fear to tread (=
дурням закон не писаний) (A. Pope), etc. (see Table 13).
Table 13 ˗- Semantic classification of phraseological units
Phraseological units
e. g. once in a blue moon, a white elephant
half – fusions
e. g. to buy smth for a song, to talk through
one’s hat
e. g. to play second fiddle,
a snake in the grass
e. g. black frost, small talk
phraseological collocations
e. g. to make friends, to bear a grudge
phraseological expressions
e. g. Birds of a feather flock together; Still
water runs deep
Exercise 1. Group the phraseological units in bold type
according to their classification based on the semantic
principle. Comment on them.
1. Regan can build a castle in the air, but he didn’t
believe her. 2. I don’t want to hear all the whys and
wherefores-just get it finished properly this time. 3. He wasn’t
sick, he just was up to the ears in love, and that is why he
couldn’t eat. 4. But I laughed and said, “Don’t worry,
Professor, I am not pulling her ladyship’s leg. I wouldn’t do
such a thing. I have too much respect for that charming limb.
5. My sister lives in Alaska, so I only get to see her once in a
blue moon. 6. I know Sir John will go, he was sure it wouldn’t
rain Cats and Dogs. 7. No one else wanted it, so I picked it up
for a song. I could buy this house for a song, because it’s so
ugly. 8. Meanwhile a pretty kettle of fish was preparing for
Mr. Noon. He smelled nothing of it for some days. 9. Finally,
we asked him to lay his cards on the table and tell us about
his plans. 10. Of course I can lift him. He’s light as a feather.
11. Lewis was watching Fifteen to one in the rec room and as
usual you could hear a pin drop. 12. Let’s talk over the
arrangement with the others before we make a decision. 13. It
would certainly make a sensation second to none, and Mr.
Rachel dearly love to make a sensation. 14. I can stop when
make up my mind to it, although it’s difficult. 15. Now and
again Jane had qualms about the fact that if she had not done
for little Kate everything? 16. “What he thinks has taken the
place of the ivory tower?” “Abstraction?” She shook her head.
17. She flew off the handle when she heard it. 18. Jake and
Max made a bargain with their sponsor and they were going
to have a cup of coffee. 19. Please, don’t worry about it; she
just got out of bed on the wrong side. 20. He could make
nothing of it. 21. “Kate, please, go and make sure she’s all
right”, said he emotionally. 22. David was finding it hard to
keep his eyes off Sophie. 23. I did my best and I thought I
was following your instructions. 24. Annie grimaced as Sophie
and Jake locked eyes. Eat your heart out, Love Boat.
25. Annie was watering the flowers as a phone call broke the
silence in the room. 26. “Of course I’ll help you”, he replied.
“Two heads are better than one”. 27. I’m going to burst into
tears. 28. Mrs. Rachel prided herself on always speaking her
mind. 29. Jake lived to the best of his abilities and didn’t
want to leave this place. 30. I always knew I could trust her
completely – which became more and more important as time
went by and my stature in Hollywood grew. 31. That is except
to do some cooking every now and then. 32. They pull out all
the stops. 33. I’m going to look them over, see if I can make
head or tail of them. 34. Over the years she had taken a back
seat to Georgio, always had. 35. Every now and then she
would come over and take my temperature. 36. I can only
say that Philip is a cool cat. 37. Bird in Hand Is Worth Two
in the Bush. This philosophical statement, of course, is
centuries old, but I’d just like to repeat it again to emphasize
its importance. 38. I kept my eyes fixed on this terrible infant.
39. Sometimes, breaking the law seems less harmful than
obeying the law. 40. Tommy, now casting his eyes over the
children and nodding towards Nardy. 41. ‘Mind what I told
you. Behave yourself’. 42. I know that isn't a very optimistic
observation of humans, but remember, every cloud has a
silver lining. 43. The filth will come out of the woodwork
now. 44. Clifford Malin just tried to commit suicide.
45. Every penny we have in the bank was earned fair and
square. 46. Thought Georgio had it built for next to nothing
ten years before. 47. Wise man says: An apple a day keeps
the doctor away – if aimed right. 48. A rolling stone gathers
no moss that's what the majority say and that danged old stone
keeps rolling going on its’ merry way. 49. Georgio stood his
ground, refusing to be intimidated. 50. Lady Exner said that it
was time off.
Classification of Phraseological Units Based on the
Structural Principle
It is obvious that Academician V. V. Vinogradov’s
classification system does not take into account the structural
characteristics of phraseological units. On the other hand, the
border-line separating unities from fusions are vague and even
subjective. One and the same phraseological unit may appear
motivated to one person (and therefore be labelled as a unity)
and demotivated to another (and be regarded as a fusion). The
more profound one’s command of the language and one’s
knowledge of its history are the fewer fusions one is likely to
discover in it.
Prof. A. I. Smirnitskiy worked out structural
classification of phraseological units, comparing them with
words. He points out one-top units which he compares with
derived words because derived words have only one root
morpheme. He points out two-top units which he compares
with compound words because in compound words we usually
have two root morphemes. Among one-top units he points out
three structural types: a) units of the type to give up (verb +
postposition type), e. g. to art up, to back up, to drop out, to
nose out, to buy into, etc.; b) units of the type to be tired. Some
of these units remind the Passive Voice in their structure but
they have different prepositions with them, while in the Passive
Voice we can have only prepositions “by” or “with”, e. g. to be
tired of, to be interested in, to be surprised at, etc.;
c) prepositional-nominal phraseological units. These units are
equivalents of unchangeable words: prepositions, conjunctions,
adverbs, that is why they have no grammar centre, their
semantic centre is the nominal part, e. g. on the doorstep (quite
near), on the nose (exactly), in the course of, on the stroke of,
in time, on the point of, etc. In the course of time such units can
become words, e. g. tomorrow, instead, etc. Among two-top
units A. I. Smirnitskiy points out the following structural types:
a) attributive-nominal such as: a month of Sundays, grey
matter, a millstone round one’s neck and many others. Units of
this type are noun equivalents and can be partly or perfectly
idiomatic. In partly idiomatic units (phrasisms) sometimes the
first component is idiomatic, e. g. high road, in other cases the
second component is idiomatic, e. g. first night. In many cases
both components are idiomatic, e. g. red tape, blind alley, bed
of nail, etc.; b) verb-nominal phraseological units, e. g. to read
between the lines, to speak BBC, to sweep under the carpet,
etc. The grammar centre of such units is the verb, the semantic
centre in many cases is the nominal component, e. g. to fall in
love. In some units the verb is both the grammar and the
semantic centre, e. g. not to know the ropes. These units can be
perfectly idiomatic as well, e. g. to burn one’s boats, to vote
with one’s feet, to take to the cleaners’, etc.; c) phraseological
repetitions, such as: now or never, part and parcel, etc. Such
units can be built on antonyms, e. g. ups and downs, back and
forth; often they are formed by means of alliteration, e. g. cakes
and ale, as busy as a bee. Components in repetitions are joined
by means of conjunctions. These units are equivalents of
adverbs or adjectives and have no grammar centre. They can
also be partly or perfectly idiomatic, e. g. cool as a cucumber
(partly), bread and butter (perfectly). Phraseological units the
same as compound words can have more than two tops (stems
in compound words), e. g. to take a back seat, a peg to hang a
thing on, lock, stock and barrel, to be a shaddow of one’s own
self, at one’s own sweet will.
Syntactical Classification of Phraseological Units
Phraseological units can be clasified as parts of speech.
This classification was suggested by I. V. Arnold. In the
traditional structural approach, the following principal groups
of phraseological units are distinguishable (see Table 14).
Table 14 ˗- Syntactical classification of phraseological units
Phraseological units
e. g. to talk through one's hat, to get (win) the
upper hand
e. g. dog's life, white lie
e. g. high and mighty, spick and span
e. g. like a dream, to the bitter end
e. g. my God! By George!
e. g. in the course of, on the stroke of
1) Verbal denoting an action, a state, a feeling: to run
for one's (dear) life, to get (win) the upper hand, to talk
through one's hat, to make a song and dance about something,
to sit pretty (Amer. sl.), to be on the beam;
2) Substantive denoting an object, a person, a living
being: dog's life, cat-and-dog life, calf love, white lie, tall
order, birds of a feather, birds of passage, red tape, brown
study, Green Berets;
3) Adjectival denoting a quality: high and mighty, spick
and span, brand new, safe and sound, (as) cool as a cucumber,
(as) nervous as a cat, (as) weak as a kitten, (as) good as gold
(usu. spoken about children), (as) pretty as a picture, as large
as life, (as) drunk as an owl (sl.), (as) mad as a hatter/a hare
in March;
4) Adverbial: in cold blood; to the bitter end; by a long
chalk; like a dog with two tails; like a dream; with a bump.
5) Interjectional: my God/by Jove! By George!
Goodness gracious! Good Heavens' sakes alive!
6) Prepositional: in the course of, on the stroke of.
In I. V. Arnold’s classification there are also sentence
equivalents, proverbs, sayings and quatations, e. g. The sky is
the limit, What makes him tick, I am easy. Proverbs are usually
metaphorical, e. g. Too many cooks spoil the broth, while
sayings are as a rule non-metaphorical, e. g. Where there is a
will there is a way.
Exercise 2. Group the phraseological units in bold type
according to the classification based on the structural principle.
Comment on them.
1. It is a case of sink or swim. All depends on his own
effort. 2. I’ll make no bones about it: I don't like your attitude
to work. 3. He’s reasonable and tries to meet his co-workers
halfway, when possible. 4. The bottom line is, she didn’t have
enough money. 5. They are true friends. It’s as plain as the
nose on your face. 6. Stop crying and complaining! You have
to pull yourself together now. 7. The speeding car almost hit
the man. That was really a close call. 8. The blonde woman
seemed to know Roscoe. But she disappeared as if by magic.
9. God forbid! I won’t hold her anymore! 10. Remember what
a wet blanket he was last time? Please don’t invite him again.
11. The new evidence turned the tide, and the defendant was
acquitted of charges. 12. Oh my God! You’re so beautiful!
13. I feel myself so depressed. Don’t want to live with a heavy
heart. 14. He said a stupid thing and tried to save face by
saying he misunderstood me. 15. He knows the ins and outs of
this business. 16. I want to speak with you as with man – head
to head, face to face. Are you ready to this? 17. His remarks
rub many co-workers the wrong way. 18. This question is
an apple of discord in our family. 19. He shook his head…
Good heavens! Nearly hundred, thousand. 20. It was just a
slip of the tongue! 21. There were two brothers, as like as two
peas in a pod. 22. Chris and Sara always live a cat and dog
life. I don’t remember them without any scandal. 23. Brad
examined all the facts closely; he doesn't just scratch the
surface. 24. Why does she keep all those things she never
uses? – Marcella is a pack rat. 25. They’re a married couple.
It’s as sure as eggs are eggs. 26. In the current economic
climate, survival is the name of the game. 27. I won’t believe
in this! Caroline will do this only when pigs fly. 28. Their
second son is the black sheep of the family, he is good for
nothing. 29. I hated living in London. I started getting itchy
feet. 30. She wanted it all, the whole ball of wax. She wanted
the company for herself. 31. As quickly as possible we
cleaned the fish and placed them in coolers. 32. Marge, you're
as pretty as Princess Leia and as smart as Yoda.
33. Foolishness! Your dog is not smarter than my dog! 34. It
was empty, but a door stood as black as night at the other end.
35. Brad and his mother didn't see eye to eye any longer.
36. Cheshire Cat drunk as a lord, beginning with the end of
its tail. 37. By George, they’re coming back to me!!! 38. Devil
is not as black as he is painted. 39. He looked at me again…
Goodness gracious! You look so… smart. 40. There was a
sound of heavy footsteps, then he became fierce as a tiger.
41. Sakes alive! I see you had a crazy night. 42. This was a
cunning as fox gentleman, with a shock of hair prematurely
white, and a boisterous and decided manner. 43. I’m going to
look through them, see if I can make head or tail of them.
44. Georgio will be much happier finding out the state of play
from the horse’s mouth. 45. If I don’t finish those houses
then I’m afraid my business will go to the wall. 46. I think we
were both at sixes and sevens today. 47. But he did call
Robert “the most determined person” he had ever known. To
another reporter he said proudly, “Bobby’s as hard as nails”.
48. Why can’t you come back to Bellomont this evening?
We’re all alone, and Judy is as cross as two sticks. 49. I
haven’t a worry and haven’t a care. I feel like a feather floating
on air. I am fit as a fiddle and ready to go. 50. “It’s nothing”,
Charlie muttered. “Give me a brandy and I’ll be as right as a
trivet in a moment of two”. 51. Mr. Winter has lost his head
over horse races; he makes bets and loses a lot of money.
52. He was admired for being fair and square in all his
dealings.53. Aunt Hermione has taken a fancy to antique
furniture. 54. And what was she now but George’s wife—no,
George’s grass widow at this moment, and this moment was
her whole life in microcosm and Dominic’s mother?
55. Georgiana likes being praised; it is music to her ears. 56. I
know that you want to leave immediately, but please hold
your horses. 57. She was too high and mighty to make her
own bed. 58. That was as busy as a bee during wedding
preparations, and she wasn’t ready to accept such terrible
news. 59. Don't ride the high horse and get rid of those
clothes. 60. She was dressed from head to toe in red. 61. I'll
pass this course by hook or by crook. 62. It's time to take the
bull by the horns and get this job done. 63. When they asked
for volunteers, he raised his hand like a shot. 64. Can we drop
the subject now?’ Hat grimaced. 65. Our university needs
several million dollars for its building renovation project;
$50,000 is a mere drop in the bucket. 66. “Can Sam stay
overnight, Mish?” Hat asked. “Goodness gracious, most
certainly not!” her friend replied. “What would your parents
say?” 67. We were talking politely and carefully with the
teacher about a class party, but John came in like a bull in a
china shop and his rough talk made the teacher say no.
68. “My goodness,” Gina exclaimed when she saw her son
covered with mud from head to foot. 69. Bob was looking over
his notes for English class and in a flash he knew what he
would write his paper about. 70. I have been working like a
horse to finish everything before the deadline. 71. The right to
host the Olympic Games is an apple of discord between the
two countries. 72. As the crow flies, it is about six kilometres
between my house and my office. 73. Good heavens, what are
you doing? 74. John dropped a brick when he called her by his
ex-wife's name.
Exercise 3. Pick out the phraseological units and group
them according to the structural principle. Comment on them.
1. I burnt the candle at both ends when I was young,
and now I’m suffering from the numerous illnesses. 2. David
passed all the exams with flying colours and got a golden
medal on leaving school. 3. Meeting with all my classmates
was as flowers in the May since we haven’t seen each other for
10 years. 4. Helen felt like she was fleeced of her money, a
damn feeling. 5. He had to cycle home in the rain and came in
looking like a drowned rat. 6. You tried to use me as a cat’s
paw to pull chestnuts out of the fire for Stanley Rider. 7. She
thanked him from the bottom of her heart. 8. The foreign
student in our group seemed to be queer as a three-dollar bill at
first, but then we got accustomed to each other. 9. When they
both were fourteen, we thought we feel the greatest infatuation
in the world, but soon they understood it was just a puppy love.
10. Oh my eye! is the shop of Charlie Devon , designer and
creator of the original Spool Sewing bird pattern and mobile
which was featured in Philadelphia. 11. There's no doubt that
he's interested in her. It's as plain as the nose on your face.
12. His tongue-in-cheek compliment concerning my evening
dress made me embarrassed. 13. God damn it! She really loves
him. 14. It'll all work out in the course of time. 15. The issue of
nuclear weapons isn't as black and white as it used to be.
16. She is a real sitting duck! How could she let the pickpocket
steal all her belongings! 17. A pretty kettle of fish. Where I'll
end, I can't say. 18. Good God! So it is not surprising that there
were no good treatment. 19. The years of animosity between
two groupings finished by a severe kangaroo court. 20. You
want me to apologize? Like hell I will!
Like words phraseological units can be related as
synonyms, e. g. to back the wrong house – to hunt the wrong
hare – to get the boot on the wrong foot; before the ink is dry –
in a twinkle of an eye – before one can say Jack Robinson; like
a shot – in half a trice, etc. Phraseological synonyms often
belong to different stylistic layers.
Phraseological synonyms should not be mixed up with
variants of а phraseological unit, to add fuel to the fire – to
add fuel to fire – to add oil to fire – to add fuel to the flame,
etc.; God knows – goodness knows – Heaven knows – the Lord
knows, etc.; not worth a bean – not worth a brass farthing –
not worth a button – not worth a pin – not worth a rap – not
worth a straw, etc.
Occasional phraseological variants may be formed due
to authors’ actualizing the potential (literary) meanings of their
components. Cf. a skeleton in the family cupboard: We were
peeping into the family cupboard and having a look at the
good old skeleton (P.G. Wodehouse).
Phraseological antonyms are of two main types: they
may either differ in a single component (to do one’s best – to
do one’s worst; up to date – out of date; to look black – to look
bright, etc.) or have different sets of components (to draw the
first breath – to breathe one’s last; to take a circuit – to make
a bee-line; to talk to the dozen – to keep mum, etc.).
A proverb (from Latin: proverbium) is a simple and
concrete saying, popularly known and repeated, that expresses
a truth based on common sense or the practical experience of
humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that
describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a
Proverbs are often borrowed from similar languages
and cultures, and sometimes come down to the present through
more than one language. Both the Bible (including, but not
limited to the Book of Proverbs) and Medieval Latin (aided by
the work of Erasmus) have played a considerable role in
distributing proverbs across Europe. Mieder has concluded that
cultures that treat the Bible as their "major spiritual book
contain between three hundred and five hundred proverbs that
stem from the Bible." However, almost every culture has
examples of its own unique proverbs.
The study of proverbs is called paremiology (from
Greek παροιμία – paroimía, “proverb, maxim, saw”) and can
be dated back as far as Aristotle. Paremiography, on the other
hand, is the collection of proverbs. A prominent proverb
scholar in the United States is. Wolfgang Mieder He has
written or edited over 50 books on the subject, edits the journal
Proverbium, has written innumerable articles on proverbs, and
is very widely cited by other proverb scholars. Mieder defines
the term proverb as follows: A proverb is a short, generally
known sentence of the folk which contains wisdom, truth,
morals, and traditional views in a metaphorical, fixed and
memorisable form and which is handed down from generation
to generation. Examples: Haste makes waste. Those who live in
glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. We never know the value
of water till the well is dry.
These examples show that proverbs are different from
phraseological units. Phraseological units are a kind of readymade blocks which fit into the structure of a sentence
performing a certain syntactical function.
Ex.: George liked her for she never put on air
Proverbs are sentences and so cannot be used in the
way in which phraseological units are used.
If we compare proverbs and phraseological units in the
semantic aspect, the difference becomes more obvious.
Proverbs could be compared with fables for they sum up the
collective experience of the community. A proverb is a short
popular saying that moralizes, gives warning, gives advice
about how people should behave or that expresses a belief that
is generally thought to be true. Here are some examples: If you
sing before breakfast, you will cry before night. Don’t cry over
spilled milk. Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw
stones. A stitch in time saves nine.
No phraseological unit ever does any of these things.
They do not stand for whole statements as proverbs do but for
a single concept. Their function in speech is purely nominative
(they denote an object, an act, etc.). The function of proverbs
in speech is communicative (they impart certain information).
The question of whether or not proverbs should be
regarded as a subtype of phraseological units is controversial
one. Professor Koonin labels them communicative
phraseological units.
Like idioms, proverbs often have a meaning that is
greater than the meaning of the individual words put together,
but in a different way than idioms. The literal meaning of an
idiom usually doesn’t make sense, and idioms can be almost
impossible to understand unless you have learned or heard
them before.
The literal meaning of a proverb such as “Don’t cry
over spilled milk” does makes sense on its own, but it’s not
until you apply this meaning to a broader set of situations that
you understand the real point of the proverb. For example,
“Don’t cry over spilled milk” means “Don’t get upset over
something that has already been done. It’s too late to worry
about it now, just get on with your life.”
However, people will often quote only a fraction of a
proverb to invoke an entire proverb, e. g. "All is fair" instead
of "All is fair in love and war", and "A rolling stone" for "A
rolling stone gathers no moss."
Grammatical Structure of Proverbs
Proverbs in various languages are found with a wide
variety of grammatical structures. In English, for example, we
find the following structures (in addition to others):
Imperative, negative – Don't beat a dead horse.
Imperative, positive – Look before you leap.
Parallel phrases – Garbage in, garbage out.
Rhetorical question – Is the Pope Catholic?
Declarative sentence – Birds of a feather flock together.
Linguostylistics discerns the following lexico-stylistic
layers of the English vocabulary:
1) Stylistically neutral words
2) Literary-bookish words
3) Colloquial words
Stylistically neutral layer consists of words mostly of
native origin though it also comprises fully assimilated
borrowings. Such words are devoid of any emotive colouring
and are used in their denotative meaning, e. g. table, street,
sky, go, speak, long, easy, never, often, etc. In groups of
synonyms neutral words fulfil the function of the synonymic
Literary-Bookish Words
Literary-bookish words belong to the formal style, to
the formal category of communication. Literary words are
more stable due to the traditions of the written type of speech.
The so-termed learned words are used in descriptive passages
of fiction, scientific texts, radio and television announcements,
official talks and documents, business correspondence, etc.
They mark the text as belonging to this or that style of written
speech, but when used in colloquial speech or in informal
situations, they may create a comical effect. These words are
mostly of foreign origin and have polymorphemic structure,
e. g. solitude, fascination, cordial, paternal, divergent,
heterogeneous, miscellaneous, hereby, thereby, herewith,
wherein, etc.
Literary (bookish) words are not stylistically
homogeneous. Besides general-literary (bookish) words, e. g.
harmony, calamity, alacrity, etc., we may single out various
specific subgroups, namely: 1) terms or scientific words such
as, e g. renaissance, genocide, teletype, etc.; 2) poetic words
and archaisms such as, e. g. whilom – ‘formerly’, aught –
‘anything’, ere – ‘before’, albeit – ‘although’, fare – ‘walk’,
tarry – ‘remain’, nay – ‘no’; etc.; 3) barbarisms and foreign
words, such as, e. g., bon mot – ‘a clever or witty saying’,
apropos, faux pas, bouquet, etc.; 4) neologisms such as, e. g.
teledish (“a dish-shaped aerial for receiving satellite television
transmissions”), roam-a-phone (“a portable telephone”),
graviphoton (“a hypothetical particle”), etc.
Terms are words or nominal groups which convey
specialized concepts used in science, technology, art, etc., e. g.
gerontology, phoneme, radar, knee joint, common
denominator, periodic table, still life, choreography, etc.
Poetic words are stylistically marked; they form a
lexico-stylistic paradigm. In the 17th-18th centuries they were
widely used in poetry as synonyms of neutral words. In
modern poetry such a vocabulary barely exists.
Poetic words are diverse; they include: a) archaic words
(commix – mix); b) archaic forms (vale – valley); c) historic
words (argosy – large merchant ship); d) poetic words proper
(anarch, brine).
Their main function is to mark the text in which they
are used as poetic, thus distinguishing it from non-fiction texts.
In modern poetry such words are seldom used. Their stylistic
meaning gets more vivid when they are contrasted to neutral
Archaisms are words which are no longer used in
everyday speech, which have been ousted by their synonyms.
Archaisms remain in the language, but they are used as
stylistic devices to express solemnity.
Archaisms are obsolete names for existing things,
actions, phenomena, etc. All of them can be replaced by
neutral synonyms, e. g. hark (“listen”), deem (“think”), glee
(“joy”), aught (“anything”), nigh (“near”). Grammatical
archaisms represent obsolete grammatical forms: thou, three,
thy, thine; ye; he goeth, thou knowest, etc. Among archaic
words one should distinguish historical words that denote nolonger existing objects, e. g. yeoman, fletcher, gleeman,
galleon, visor, etc. Historical words have no neutral synonyms
in Modern English.
Archaic words that denote existing objects are divided
into two groups: a) archaic words proper: words which are no
longer recognized in modern English. They were used in Old
English and have either dropped out of language use entirely or
completely changed (troth – faith, losel – worthless); b)
archaic forms of the words: corse instead of corpse, an instead
of and, annoy instead of аnnоуаnсе.
Sometimes a lexical archaism begins a new life, getting
a new meaning, then the old meaning becomes a semantic
archaism, e. g. fair in the meaning “beautiful” is a semantic
archaism, but in the meaning “blond” it belongs to the neutral
style. Sometimes the root of the word remains and the affix is
changed, then the old affix is considered to be a morphemic
archaism, e. g. beauteous, bepaint, darksome, oft. Here “ous”
was substituted by “ful”, “be” and “some” were dropped, “en”
was added.
Barbarisms and foreign words. There are many
borrowings in every language, some of them being assimilated.
We may distinguish three groups of such words in English:
foreign words, barbarisms, and exotic words.
Foreign words are close to barbarisms, but they are
characterized by occasional usage only, mainly in literary
speech. They do not form a lexico-stylistic paradigm, though
they may be used to create some stylistic effect.
Barbarisms are words of foreign origin which have not
been entirely assimilated into the English language preserving
their former spelling and pronunciation. Most of them (e. g.
chic, chagrin, en passant) have corresponding English
Neologisms are the main problem of modern scientific
research. A neologism is a word, term, or phrase which has
been recently created (“coined”) – often to apply to new
concepts, to synthesize pre-existing concepts, or to make older
terminology sound more contemporary. Neologisms are
especially useful in identifying inventions, new phenomena, or
old ideas which have taken on a new cultural context. Most
frequently, neologism is explained and defined as “a new
word”. This term was coined around 1800 and is also referred
to an existing word or phrase which has been assigned a new
At the present moment English is developing very
swiftly and there is so called “neology blowup”. R. Berchfield
who worked at compiling a four-volume supplement to NED
says that averagely 800 neologisms appear every year in
Modern English. It has also become a language-giver recently,
especially with the development of computerization. New
words, as a rule, appear in speech of an individual person who
wants to express his idea in some original way. This person is
called “originater”. New lexical units are primarily used by
university teachers, newspaper reporters, by those who are
connected with mass media. Neologisms can develop in three
main ways: a lexical unit existing in the language can change
its meaning to denote a new object or phenomenon. In such
cases we have semantic neologisms, e. g. the word umbrella
developed the meanings: “авіаційне прикриття”, “політичне
прикриття”. A new lexical unit can develop in the language to
denote an object or phenomenon which already has some
lexical unit to denote it. In such cases we have
transnomination, e. g. the word slum was first substituted by
the word ghetto then by the word-group inner town. A new
lexical unit can be introduced to denote a new object or
phenomenon. In this case we have a proper neologism, many
of them are cases of new terminology.
We can point out several semantic groups when we
analyze the group of neologisms connected with
computerization, and here we can mention words used: a) to
denote different types of computers, e. g. PC, super-computer,
multi-user, neurocomputer, etc.; b) to denote parts of
computers, e. g. hardware, software, monitor, screen, data,
etc. c) to denote computer languages, e. g. BASIC, Algol
FORTRAN, etc; d) to denote notions connected with work on
computers, e. g. computerman, computerization, computerize,
to troubleshoot, to blitz out, etc. There are also different types
of activities performed with the help of computers, many of
them are formed with the help of the morpheme “tele”, e. g. to
telework, to telecommute. There are also such words as
telebanking, telemarketing, teleshopping. In the sphere of
biometrics we have computerized machines which can
recognize characteristic features of people seeking entrance:
finger-print scanner, biometric eye-scanner, voice verification
and others.
There are different semantic groups of neologisms
belonging to everyday life: a) food e. g. starter instead of hors
d’oevres, macrobiotics, longlife milk, microwave stove,
consumer electronics, fridge-freezer, hamburgers /beef-,
cheese-, fish-, veg-; b) clothing, e. g. catsuit (one-piece
clinging suit), slimster, string (miniscule bikini), hipster
(trousers or skirt with the belt on hips), completenik (a long
sweater for trousers), sweatnik (a long jacket); c) footwear e. g.
winklepickers (shoes with long pointed toes), thongs (open
sandals); backsters (beech sandals with thick soles); d) bags,
e. g. bumbag (a small bag worn on the waist), sling bag (a bag
with a long belt), maitre (a small bag for cosmetics). There are
also such words as: dangledolly (a dolly-talisman dangling in
the car before the windscreen), boot-sale (selling from the boot
of the car), touch-tone (a telephone with press-button).
Among neologisms one can find the so-termed
occasional words (or nonce-words) coined for a particular
situation or context and aimed at a certain stylistic effect, e. g.
“A what?” – “Moneyholic. A word I’ve just made up to
describe someone with an uncontrollable addiction to money”.
We can say that author's neologisms (of course it's considered
to be only the part of some definite text) are among occasional
Several occasional words coined by famous English
authors have penetrated to the Standard English vocabulary
e. g.
(W. M. Thackeray), to chortle (L. Carrol). There are two
authors who can give us the great amount of examples, as they
have created their own separate worlds – Lewis Carroll and
J. R. R. Tolkien, the mother of particular hobbit. This word
denotes completely new race of creatures and after some time
we can hear it on every corner of the street. It's one of the
perfect examples of perfect injection new literary word in the
ordinary life and book-life itself.
One shouldn’t confuse occasional words with potential
words based on productive word-formation patterns and
devoid of any stylistic colouring. Typical cases of potential
word-formation are composite numerals (thirty-two, five
hundred and twelve), numerous adjectives with semi-suffix –
like (soldier-like, moth-like) and some other widely-distributed
patterns. Being easily coined and understood, potential words
are not registered in dictionaries.
Exercise 1. Pick out learned words from the sentences
below. Translate the sentences into Ukrainian.
1. He chortled in his joy. 2. We must away ere break of
day to seek the pale enchanted gold. 3. I had such an
interesting talk with Mrs. Allan about besetting sins last
Sunday afternoon. 4. To think that I should have lived to be
good-morninged by Belladonna Took’s son, as if I was selling
buttons at the door. 5. “It was the cell phones”, she said in that
same whisper. “It was the cell phones, all right”. 6. Sitting
behind a keyboard and monitor, this new breed of predator
could pretend to be anyone: An eighteen-year-old boy; a
twelve-year-old girl; a talent agent; Eminem’s best friend.
7. The private diary of the child could migrate into a blog,
which in her case was quite sustained. 8. And as in uffish
thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame. 9. He
left it dead, and with its head he went galumphing back.
10. Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it
came! 11. One was a special bird called a jabberjay that had
the ability to memorize and repeat whole human conversations.
12. We started with and ended up with this web
site on near-death experiences. 13. “Why, Matka?” her other
son asked her. “Don’t you think those kids were just making
up their story? Do you think they really saw a UFO?”.
14. Dumbledore was wearing his familiar, kindly smile, but as
he peered over the top of his half-moon spectacles, he gave the
impression, even in newsprint, of X-raying Harry, whose
sadness mingled with a sense of humiliation. 15. I said, “His
name is Dr. Larry Harper. I checked his credentials, and he is
an MD and is board certified in oncology and gynecology as
well as being a board-certified surgeon”. 16. Although it was
against the rules, I clipped my radio on my belt and put my
headphones on. 17. When I drew close to the up escalator, I
involuntarily transferred my paperback and CVS bag to my left
hand, so that I could take the handrail with my right, according
to habit. 18. Marilla’s astonishment could not have been
greater if Matthew had expressed a predilection for standing on
his head. 19. Gracious heavenly Father, I thank Thee for the
White Way of Delight and the Lake of Shining Waters and
Bonny and the Snow Queen. 20. First of all Carrie Sloane
dared Ruby Gillis to climb to a certain point in the huge old
willow tree before the front door; which Ruby Gillis, albeit in
mortal dread of the fat green caterpillars with which said tree
was infested and with the fear of her mother before her eyes if
she should tear her new muslin dress, nimbly did, to the
discomfiture of the aforesaid Carrie Sloane. 21. Anne had good
reason to bless her imagination many a time and oft during the
tedious seven weeks that followed. 22. On Anne’s birthday
they were tripping lightly down it, keeping eyes and ears alert
amid all their chatter, for Miss Stacy had told them that they
must soon write a composition on “A Winter’s Walk in the
Woods”, and it behooved them to be observant. 23. A good
cry, indulged in the grateful solitude of the east gable, had
soothed her nerves and restored her to her wonted
cheerfulness. 24. After breakfast the jaunty new cap and jacket
were donned, and Anne hastened over the brook and up
through the firs to Orchard Slope. 25. Lawful heart, shall I ever
forget that tantrum of hers! 26. Diana knew it would be useless
to ask how Gilbert Blythe had fared, so she merely said, “Oh,
you’ll pass all right. Don’t worry”.
Exercise 2. Explain the meaning of the words in bold
type in English.
1. A condition known to doctor as a flatulence, may a
company heart burn or appear independently. 2. Chatting on
the Internet can be fun and exhilarating, but selecting a chat
room can also be risky, and especially in Web chat. 3. She
sent the information on my e-mail. 4. The IPhone has been
touted by some as great device for consuming media. 5. The
work for such a Net by-product is spam. 6. David was coffee,
and nobody wanted to agree with him. 7. Frisbeetarianism, as
it is listed in the contest, is not a common word and the
meaning was not conceived by a reader. 8. You've probably
seen gargoyles at one time or another, whether in pictures or in
person. 9. He tried to esplanade but he did not.
Colloquial Words
Colloquial words are characteristic of the informal style
of spoken English. Colloquialisms are common sayings that
people use in everyday speech and some are very old
expressions. Colloquialisms are expressions appropriate to
informal, conversational occasions. Colloquial words are
characteristic of the informal style of spoken English. For
example, I felt “down in the dumps” is a colloquialism for
feeling depressed or miserable.
The etymology of the term “colloquialism” can be
traced to the Latin word “colloqui”, which in turn is derived
from the words “com” meaning “with” and “loqui” meaning
“conversation”. The phrase is used to refer to language that is
normally used in casual conversation. Authors and playwrights
often use colloquial language while writing, and therefore you
may often come across instances of colloquialism in novels
and plays. Consequently, colloquialisms appear frequently in
literature because they provide an impression of actual or
genuine talk and make use of the grammar, pronunciation,
vocabulary, and terms of everyday speech.
Colloquialisms include words (such as y'all, gonna, and
wanna), phrases (such as old as the hills, raining cats and
dogs, and dead as a doornail) and aphorisms (such as there's
more than one way to skin a cat).
Generally, colloquialisms are specific to a geographical
region. They are used in “everyday” conversation and,
increasingly, through informal online interactions. An example
of the regional specificity of colloquialisms is the term used
when referring to “soft drinks”. In the Upper Midwestern
United States and Canada, soft drinks are called “pop”, whilst
in other areas, notably the Northeastern and far Western United
States; they are referred to as “soda”. In some areas of
Scotland, the term “ginger” is used.
Words that have a formal meaning can also have a
colloquial meaning. For example, “kid” can mean “young
goat” in formal usage and “child” in colloquial usage.
An example of a colloquialism and how it migrates to
other areas is the Indian phrase, "Please do the needful",
meaning, "Please do what is implied and/or expected". As the
global workplace expands, this once regional phrase is now
being used outside the area in which it originated.
One should distinguish between literary colloquial
words (which are used in every day conversations both by
educated and non-educated people) and non-literary
professionalisms and vulgarisms). A distinction between
colloquialisms and slang is the most interesting part that may
give you some kind of misunderstanding in definition of the
special kind of word or word-combination. And it would be
right to pay attention to some words of famous linguist Ghil’ad
Zuckermann, which will explain the difference to us:
Slang refers to informal (and often transient) lexical
items used by a specific social group, for instance teenagers,
soldiers, prisoners, or surfers. Slang is not considered the same
as colloquial (speech), which is informal, relaxed speech used
on occasion by any speaker; this might include contractions
such as you’re, as well as colloquialisms. A colloquialism is a
lexical item used in informal speech; whilst the broadest sense
of the term colloquialism might include slangism, its narrow
sense does not. Slangisms are often used in colloquial speech
but not all colloquialisms are slangisms. One method of
distinguishing between a slangism and a colloquialism is to ask
whether most native speakers know the word (and use it); if
they do, it is a colloquialism. However, the problem is that this
is not a discrete, quantized system but a continuum. Although
the majority of slangisms are ephemeral and often supplanted
by new ones, some gain non-slang colloquial status (e. g.
English silly – cf. German selig ‘blessed’, Middle High
German sælde ‘bliss, luck’, and Zelda, a Middle Eastern
female first name) and even formal status (e. g. English mob).
There are also some examples from the literary texts,
that content quite clear types of colloquial words. We can find
them in works by Irvine Welsh, J. D. Salinger, Mark Twain
and others, e. g. I would bring some drink and we would eat
whatever there was and spend many happy hours whiling the
world away. The usage of this unusual form of word “while” is
justified by the fact that exactly this word is a linking part
between two worlds that are shown in the definite text. The
blink of red torches could be seen behind them in the tunnel
they were following; and they were getting deadly tiered. The
word “deadly” usually uses in everyday informal speech and
denotes, as it does now too, the highest degree of some feeling.
Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that
are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect
but are considered acceptable in certain social settings. As a
rule, their meanings are based on metaphor and often have
ironic colouring, e. g. attic (“head”), beans (“money”), saucers
(“eyes”), etc. Such words are easily understood by all native
speakers, because they are not specific for any social or
professional group.
Jargon is words or phrases used by people in a
particular job or group that can be difficult for others to
understand. Such words are usually motivated and, like slang
words, have metaphoric character, e. g. bird (“spacecraft”)
/astronauts’ jargon/; to grab (“to make an impression on
smb.”) /newspaper jargon/; grass, tea, weed (“narcotic”) / drug
addicts’ jargon/, etc. Words such as “backup”, “chatroom” and
“browser” are computer jargon. Jargon is often referred to as
“technical language”. It makes communication quicker and
easier among members of a group who understand it.
Among social jargons cant or argot (thieves jargon)
stands somewhat apart. Cant words are non-motivated and
have special “agreed-upon”, secret meanings, e. g. book (“life
sentence”), splosh (“money”), to rap (“to kill”), etc.
Professionalisms are sub-standard colloquial words
used by people of a definite trade or profession. Such words
are informal substitutes for corresponding terms, e. g. Hi-Fi
(“high fidelity”), smash-up (“accident”), anchor (“brakes”),
A vulgarism also called scurrility, is a colloquialism of
an unpleasant action or unrefined character, which substitutes a
coarse, indecorous word where the context might lead the
reader to expect a more refined expression. Vulgarisms
include: a) expletives and swear words of abusive character,
like damn, bloody, etc.; b) obscene (or taboo, four-letter)
words which are highly indecent.
Exercise 3. Pick out colloquialisms from the sentences
below and comment on their meaning.
1. So they appealed for people to come forward with
their holiday snaps, see if anybody might have got a picture of
this bloody accidentally. 2. Hobbits have long clever brown
fingers, good-natured faces, and laugh deep fruity laughs
(especially after dinner, which they have twice a day when
they can get it). 3. “Escaping goblins to be caught by wolves!”
he said, and it became a proverb, though we now say “out of
the frying-pan into the fire” in the same sort of uncomfortable
situations. 4. Someone wanted to mete out punishment of his
own. 5. You don’t know about me without you have read a
book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that
ain’t no matter. 6. But Mrs. Rachel Lynde was one of those
capable creatures who can manage their own concerns and
those of their folks into the bargain. 7. “What do you want?” –
“I don`t wanna nothing. Just go along by, but the dogs won`t
let me.” 8. I`d rather look at people to be sure they seem
contented enough. 9. She was recently dumped by her fiancé.
10. Oh, I like things to have handles even if they are only
geraniums. 11. Sam Boulter had sassed Mr. Phillips in class
and Mr. Phillips whipped him and Sam's father came down to
the school and dared Mr. Phillips to lay a hand on one of his
children again. 12. She had had one of her headaches that
afternoon, and although the pain had gone she felt weak and
tuckered out, as she expressed it. Anne looked at her with eyes
limpid with sympathy. 13. I have one kid, it’s a boy.
14. Finally, Charlie Sloane fought Moody Spurgeon
MacPherson, because Moody Spurgeon had said that Anne
Shirley put on airs about her recitations, and Moody Spurgeon
was licked; consequently Moody Spurgeon’s sister, Ella May,
would not “speak” to Anne Shirley all the rest of the winter.
The theory and practice of compiling dictionaries is
called lexicography. The history of compiling dictionaries
comes as far back as the Old English period, where we can
find glosses of religious books / interlinear translations from
Latin into English/. Regular bilingual dictionaries began to
appear in the 15-th century: Anglo-Latin, Anglo-French,
Anglo-German. The first unilingual dictionary explaining
difficult words appeared in 1604, the author was Robert
Cawdry, a schoolmaster, who compiled his dictionary for
schoolchildren. In 1721 an English scientist and writer Nathan
Bailey published the first etymological dictionary which
explained the origin of English words. It was the first scientific
dictionary compiled for philologists. In 1775 an explanatory
dictionary was compiled. Its author was Samuel Johnson.
Every word in his dictionary was illustrated by examples from
English literature, the meanings of words were clear from the
contexts in which they were used. The dictionary was a great
success and it influenced the development of lexicography in
all countries. The dictionary influenced normalization of the
English vocabulary. But at the same time it helped to preserve
the English spelling in its conservative form. In 1858 one of
the members of the English philological society Dr. Trench
raised the question of compiling a dictionary including all the
words existing in the language. More than a thousand people
took part in collecting examples, and 26 years later in 1884 the
first volume was published. It contained words beginning with
“A” and “B”. The last volume was published in 1928 that is 70
years after the decision was adopted. The dictionary was called
NED and contained 12 volumes. In 1933 the dictionary was
republished under the title “The Oxford English Dictionary’,
because the work on the dictionary was conducted in Oxford.
This dictionary contained 13 volumes. As the dictionary was
very large scientists continued their work and compiled shorter
editions of the dictionary: “A Shorter Oxford Dictionary”
consisting of two volumes. It had the same number of entries,
but far less examples from literature. They also compiled “A
Concise Oxford Dictionary” consisting of one volume and
including only modern words and no examples from literature.
The work at a dictionary consists of the following main
stages: the collection of material, the selection of entries and
their arrangement, the setting of each entry. At different stages
of his work the lexicographer is confronted with different
problems. Some of these refer to any type of dictionary; others
are specific of only some or even one type. The most important
of the former are:1) the selection of lexical units for inclusion;
2) their arrangement; 3) the setting of the entries; 4) the
selection and arrangement (grouping) of word-meanings;
5) the definition of meanings; 6) illustrative material;
7) supplementary material.
The choice of lexical units for inclusion is one of the
first problems the lexicographer faces. Then the number of
items to be recorded must be determined. The basic problem is
what to select and what to leave out in the dictionary. Which
form of the language, spoken or written or both, is the
dictionary to reflect? Should the dictionary contain obsolete
and archaic units, technical terms, colloquialisms, etc?
The choice depends upon the type to which the
dictionary will belong, the aim the compilers pursue, the
prospective user of the dictionary, its size, the linguistic
conceptions of the dictionary-makers and some others.
Explanatory and translation dictionaries usually record
words and phraseological units, some of them also include
affixes as separate entries. Synonym-books, pronouncing,
etymological dictionaries and some others deal only with
words. Frequency dictionaries differ in the type of units
included. Most of them enter graphic units, thus failing to
discriminate between homographs (such as back n, back adv.,
back v) and listing inflected forms of the same words (such as
go, gone, going, goes) as separate items; others enter words in
accordance with the usual lexicographic practice.
The number of entries is usually reduced at the expense
of some definite strata of the vocabulary, such as dialectisms,
jargonisms, technical terms, foreign words and the less
frequently used words (archaisms, obsolete words, etc.).
The policy settled on depends on the aim of the
dictionary. As to general explanatory dictionaries, for example,
diachronic and synchronic word-books differ greatly in their
approach to the problem. Since the former are concerned with
furnishing an account of the historical development of lexical
units, such dictionaries as NED and SOD embrace not only the
vocabulary of oral and written English of the present day,
together with such technical and scientific words as are most
frequently met with, but also a considerable proportion of
obsolete, archaic, and dialectal words. Synchronic explanatory
dictionaries include mainly common words in ordinary
present-day use. The bigger the dictionary, the larger is the
measure of peripheral words, the greater the number of words
that are so infrequently used as to be mere museum pieces.
In accordance with the compiler’s aim the units for
inclusion are drawn either from other dictionaries or from
some reading matter or from the spoken discourse. For
example, the corpus from which the word frequencies are
derived may be composed of different types of textual
material: books of fiction, scientific and technical literature,
newspapers and magazines, school textbooks, personal or
business letters, interviews, telephone conversations, etc.
The order of arrangement of the entries is different in
different dictionaries. In most dictionaries of various types
entries are given in a single alphabetical listing. In others the
units are arranged in nests, based on this or that principle.
In some explanatory and translation dictionaries, for
example, entries are grouped in families of words of the same
root. In this case the basic units are given as main entries that
appear in alphabetical order while the derivatives and the
phrases are given either as subentries or in the same entry, as
run-ons that are also alphabetised.
In synonym-books words are arranged in synonymic
sets and its dominant member serves as the head-word of the
entry. In some phraseological dictionaries, e.g. in prof.
Koonin’s dictionary, the phrases are arranged in accordance
with their pivotal words which are defined as constant noninterchangeable elements of phrases.
A variation of the cluster-type arrangement is found in
the few frequency dictionaries in which the items included are
not arranged alphabetically. In such dictionaries the entries
follow each other in the descending order of their frequency,
items of the same frequency value grouped together.
Each of the two modes of presentation, the alphabetical
and the cluster-type, has its own advantages. The former
provides for an easy finding of any word and establishing its
meaning, frequency value, etc. The latter requires less space
and presents a clearer picture of the relations of each unit
under consideration with some other units in the language
system, since words of the same root, the same denotational
meaning or close in their frequency value are grouped together.
Practically most dictionaries are a combination of the
two orders of arrangement. In most explanatory and translation
dictionaries the main entries, both simple words and
derivatives, appear in alphabetical order, with this or that
measure of run-ons, thrown out of alphabetical order.
The number of meanings a word is given and their
choice depend on two factors: 1) on what aim the compilers set
themselves and 2) what decisions they make concerning the
extent to which obsolete, archaic, dialectal or highly
specialised meanings should be recorded, how the problem of
polysemy and homonymy is solved, how cases of conversion
are treated, etc.
It is natural, for example, that diachronic dictionaries
list many more meanings than synchronic dictionaries of
current English, as they record not only the meanings in
present-day use, but also those that have already become
archaic or gone out of use. Thus SOD lists eight meanings of
the word arrive (two of which are now obsolete and two are
archaic), while COD gives five.
There are at least three different ways in which the
word meanings are arranged: in the sequence of their historical
development (called historical order), in conformity with
frequency of use that is with the most common meaning first
(empirical or actual order), and in their logical connection
(logical order). In different dictionaries the problem of
arrangement is solved in different ways. It is well-accepted
practice to follow the historical order in diachronic dictionaries
and the empirical and logical order in synchronic word-books.
In many other dictionaries meanings are generally
organised by frequency of use, but sometimes the primary
meaning comes first if this is considered essential to a correct
understanding of derived meanings.
Meanings of words may be defined in different ways:
1) by means of definitions that are characterised as
encyclopaedic, 2) by means of descriptive definitions or
paraphrases, 3) with the help of synonymous words and
expressions, 4) by means of cross-references. It is the
descriptive definitions that are used in majority of entries. It is
necessary to stress the fact that word-meanings can be
explained not only with the help of definitions and examples
but also by means of showing their collocability (lexical and
grammatical valency), especially their typical collocability.
One of the major problems in compiling translation
dictionaries and other bilingual word-books is to provide
adequate translation’ of vocabulary items or rather to choose
an adequate equivalent in the target language. The compilation
of such dictionaries must be based on systematic and detailed
contrastive studies of the languages dealt with. This will enable
the lexicographer to decide what parts of their vocabularies
diverge and thus require special attention in translation.
Conveying the meaning of a lexical unit in the target language
is no easy task as the semantic structures of related words in
different languages are never identical. The lack of
isomorphism is not limited to the so-called “culture-bound
words” only but also to most other lexical units.
The dictionary-maker is to give the most exact
equivalent in the target language. Where there is no equivalent,
to achieve maximum accuracy in rendering the meanings to be
entered the compiler may either describe the meaning with an
explanation, much similar to the definition of an explanatory
dictionary, or resort to transliteration. Very often enumeration
of equivalents alone does not supply a complete picture of the
semantic volume of this or that word.
Lexicography, that is the theory and practice of compiling
dictionaries, is an important branch of applied linguistics.
Lexicography has a common object of study with lexicology;
both describe the vocabulary of a language. The province of
lexicography is the semantic, formal, and functional
description of all individual words. Lexicographers have to
arrange their material most often according to a purely external
characteristic, namely alphabetically.
The term dictionary is used to denote a book listing
words of a language with their meanings and often with data
regarding pronunciation, usage and/or origin. There are many
different types of English dictionaries. First of all they may all
be roughly divided into two groups – encyclopaedic and
linguistic. Linguistic dictionaries are word-books, their
subject’ matter is lexical units and their linguistic properties
such as pronunciation, meaning, peculiarities of use, etc. The
encyclopaedic dictionaries, the biggest of which are called
encyclopaedias are thing-books, that give information about
the extra-linguistic world, they deal with concepts (objects and
phenomena), their relations to other objects and phenomena,
etc. Although some of the items included in encyclopaedic and
linguistic dictionaries coincide, such as the names of some
diseases, the information presented in them is altogether
different. The former give much more extensive information
on these subjects. For example, the entry influenza in a
linguistic dictionary presents the word’s spelling and
pronunciation, grammar characteristics, synonyms, etc. In an
encyclopaedia the entry influenza discloses the causes,
symptoms, characteristics and varieties of this disease, various
treatments of and remedies for it, ways of infection, etc.
A linguistic dictionary is a book of words in a
language, usually listed alphabetically, with definitions,
pronunciations, etymologies and other linguistic information or
with their equivalents in another language (or other languages).
Linguistic dictionaries may be divided into different categories
by different criteria. According to the nature of their word-list
we may speak about general dictionaries, on the one hand, and
restricted, on the other. The terms general and restricted do not
refer to the size of the dictionary or to the number of items
listed. What is meant is that the former contain lexical units in
ordinary use with this or that proportion of items from various
spheres of life, while the latter make their choice only from a
certain part of the word-stock, the restriction being based on
any principle determined by the compiler. To restricted
dictionaries belong terminological, phraseological, dialectal
word-books, dictionaries of new words, of foreign words, of
abbreviations, etc. There are also dictionaries that concentrate
their attention upon only one of these aspects: pronouncing
(phonetical) dictionaries and etymological dictionaries.
Pronouncing dictionaries record contemporary pronunciation.
As compared with the phonetic characteristics of words given
by other dictionaries the information provided by pronouncing
dictionaries is much more detailed: they indicate variant
pronunciations (which are numerous in some cases), as well as
the pronunciation of different grammatical forms. The world
famous English Pronouncing Dictionary by Daniel Jones, is
considered to provide the most expert guidance on British
English pronunciation. The most popular dictionary for the
American variant is A Pronouncing Dictionary of American
English by J. S. Kenyon and T. A. Knott.
Etymological dictionaries trace present-day words to
the oldest forms available, establish their primary meanings
and give the parent form reconstructed by means of the
comparative-historical method. In case of borrowings they
point out the immediate source of borrowing, its origin, and
parallel forms in cognate languages. The most authoritative of
these is the newly-published Oxford Dictionary of English
Etymology edited by С. Т. Onions. Quite popular is the famous
Etymological English Dictionary by W. W. Skeat compiled at
the beginning of the century and published many times.
For dictionaries in which the words and their
definitions belong to the same language the term unilingual or
explanatory is used, whereas bilingual or translation
dictionaries are those that explain words by giving their
equivalents in another language. Multilingual or polyglot
dictionaries are not numerous; they serve chiefly the purpose
of comparing synonyms and terminology in various languages.
Explanatory dictionaries provide information on all aspects of
the lexical units entered: graphical, phonetical, grammatical,
semantic, stylistic, etymological, etc. Unilingual dictionaries
are further subdivided with regard to the time. Most of these
dictionaries deal with the form, usage and meaning of lexical
units in Modern English, regarding it as a stabilised system and
taking no account of its past development. They are synchronic
in their presentation of words as distinct from diachronic, those
concerned with the development of words occurring within the
written history of the language. For instance, the New English
Dictionary on Historical Principles commonly abbreviated in
NED and its abridgement The Shorter Oxford Dictionary on
Historical Principles (SOD) cover the history of the English
vocabulary from the days of King Alfred down to the present
time; they are diachronic, whereas another abridgement of the
NED – the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English
(COD) is synchronic.
Both bilingual and unilingual dictionaries can be
general and special. General dictionaries represent the
vocabulary as a whole with a degree of completeness
depending upon the scope and bulk of the book in question.
Some general dictionaries may have very specific aims and still
be considered general due to their coverage. They include, for
instance, frequency dictionaries, i.e. lists of words, each of
which is followed by a record of its frequency of occurrence in
one or several sets of reading matter. A rhyming dictionary is
also a general dictionary, though arranged in inverse order.
General dictionaries are contrasted to special dictionaries
whose aim is to cover a certain specific part of the vocabulary.
Special dictionaries may be further subdivided
depending on whether the words are chosen according to the
sphere of human activity in which they are used (technical
dictionaries), the type of the units themselves (e.g.
phraseological dictionaries) or the relationships existing
between them (e. g. dictionaries of synonyms). The first
subgroup embraces specialised dictionaries of limited scope
which appeal to a particular kind of a reader. They register and
explain technical terms for various branches of knowledge, art
and trade: linguistic, medical, technical, economical terms, etc.
The second subgroup deals with specific language
units, i.e. with phraseology, abbreviations, neologisms,
borrowings, toponyms, proverbs, etc. Phraseological
dictionaries have accumulated vast collections of idiomatic or
colloquial phrases, proverbs and other, usually image-bearing
word-groups with profuse illustrations. But the compilers’
approach is in most cases purely empiric. By phraseology
many of them mean all forms of linguistic anomalies. The third
subgroup contains a formidable array of synonymic
dictionaries. Dictionaries recording the complete vocabulary of
some author are called concordances; they should be
distinguished from those that deal only with difficult words,
i.e. glossaries. Taking up territorial considerations one comes
across dialect dictionaries and dictionaries of Americanisms.
Dictionaries of slang contain elements from areas of
substandard speech such as vulgarisms, jargonisms, taboo
words, curse-words, colloquialisms, etc. The most well-known
dictionaries of the type are Dictionary of Slang and
Unconventional English by E. Partridge, Dictionary of the
Underworld: British and American, The American Thesaurus
of Slang by L. V. Berry & M. Den Bork, The Dictionary of
American Slang by H. Wentworth and S. B. Flexner.
Finally, dictionaries may be classified into linguistic
and non-linguistic. The latter are dictionaries giving
information on all branches of knowledge, the encyclopaedias.
They deal not with words, but with facts and concepts. The
best known encyclopaedias of the English-speaking world are
The Encyclopaedia Britannica (in 24 volumes) and The
Encyclopedia Americana (in 30 volumes). Very popular in
Great Britain and the USA are also Collier’s Encyclopedia (in
24 vols) intended for students and school teachers, Chamber’s
Encyclopaedia (in 15 vols) which is a family type reference
book, and Everyman’s Encyclopaedia (in 12 vols) designed
for all-round use. Besides the general encyclopaedic
dictionaries there are reference books that are confined to
definite fields of knowledge, such as The Oxford Companion
to English Literature, Oxford Companion to Theatre, Cassell's
Encyclopaedia of World Literature, etc.
There exist also biographical dictionaries and many
minor encyclopaedias.
A bilingual dictionary is useful to several kinds of
people: to those who study foreign languages, to specialists
reading foreign literature, to translators, to travellers, and to
linguists. It may have two principal purposes: reference for
translation and guidance for expression. It must provide an
adequate translation in the target language of every word and
expression in the source language. It is also supposed to
contain all the inflectional, derivational, semantic and syntactic
information that its reader might ever need, and also
information on spelling and pronunciation. Data on the levels
of usage are also considered necessary, including special
warnings about the word being rare or poetical or slangy and
unfit to be used in the presence of “one’s betters”. The number
of special bilingual dictionaries for various branches of
knowledge and engineering is ever increasing. A completely
new type is the machine translation dictionaries which present
their own specific problems, naturally differing from those
presented by bilingual dictionaries for human translation. It is
highly probable, however, that their development will
eventually lead to improving dictionaries for general use. The
entries of a dictionary are usually arranged in alphabetical
order, except that derivatives and compounds are given under
the same head-word.
Thus to characterise a dictionary one must qualify it at
least from the four angles mentioned above: 1) the nature of
the word-list, 2) the information supplied, 3) the language of
the explanations, 4) the prospective user.
Tick off the cases of vulgarisms: a) attic; b) to leg;
c) goddamn; d) to rag.
Tick off the cases of literary colloquial words: a) makeup; b) touchy; c) granny; d) beans.
Tick off the cases of argot: a) splosh; b) anchors; c) to
rag; d) bird.
Tick off the cases of slang: a) grass; b) tea; c) saucers;
d) book.
Tick off the cases of monosemantic words: a) tungsten;
b) game; c) coin; d) make.
Tick off the cases of reduplication: a) first night; b) sing
song; c) johnny-jump; d) payday.
Tick off the cases of phrasal nouns: a) a breakdown;
b) a getaway; c) a timetable; d) a saleswoman.
Tick off the cases of denizens: a) sherbet; b) foyer;
c) eureka; d) husband.
Tick off the cases of aliens: a) hrivna; b) ad hoc;
c) memoir; d) face.
Tick off the cases of barbarisms: a) boulevard;
b) persona grata; c) toreador; d) naїve.
Tick off the cases of a free morpheme: a) conceive;
b) half-baked; c) friendly; d) enlarge.
Tick off the cases of bound morphemes: a) freedom;
b) after-thought; c) depart; d) chairman.
Tick off the cases of semi-bound morphemes: a) wellknown; b) resist; c) babylike; d) himself.
Tick off the cases of juxtapositional compounds:
a) electromotive; b) whitewash; c) H-bomb; d) knowall.
Tick off the cases of morphological compounds:
a) saleswoman; b) up-to-date; c) deep-blue; d) huntingknife.
Tick off the cases of syntactic compounds: a) greygreen; b) go-between; c) sportsman; d) U-turn.
Tick off the cases of reduplicative compounds proper:
a) goody-goody;
b) molly-dolly;
c) murmur;
d) flimflam.
Tick off the cases of ablaut compounds: a) nambypamby; b) singsong; c) blah-blah; d) ping-pong.
Tick off the cases of rhyme compounds: a) hoity-toity;
b) chit-chat; c) highty-flighty; d) tip-top.
Tick off the cases of apocope: a) van (caravan);
b) fancy (fantasy); c) prefab (prefabricated); d) stach
Tick off the cases of syncope: a) fancy (fantasy);
b) specs (spectacles); c) doc (doctor); d) plane
Tick off the cases of acronyms: a) NATO; b) FBI; c) Ldriver; d) e. g.
Tick off the cases of alphabetic abbreviations: a) UNO;
b) SALT; c) M.P. d) Hi-Fi.
Tick off the cases of compound abbreviations: a) Zhour; b) Interpol; c) Mr.; c) pp.
Tick off the cases of graphic abbreviations: a) Co; b) Xmas; c) USA; d) UNESCO.
Tick off the cases of jargonisms: a) make-up; b) weed;
c) granny; d) beans.
Tick off the cases of vulgarisms: a) grass; b) tea;
c) saucers; d) bloody.
Tick off the cases of adverbial phraseological units: a) a
drop in the bucket; b) from head to foot; c) by hook or
by crook; d) to take a fancy.
Tick off the cases of interjectional phraseological units:
a) to drop a brick; b) sakes alive!; c) high and mighty;
d) my eye!
Tick off the cases of slang: a) attic; b) to leg;
c) goddamn; d) to rag.
Tick off the cases of simile: a) from the cradle to the
grave; b) clever fingers; c) merry as a cricket; d) a fleet
of twenty sail.
Tick off the cases of polysemantic words:
a) biochemistry; b) mouth; c) stuff; d) sharp.
Tick off the cases of blending: a) luminisce; b) midAugust; c) cinemagnate; d) ammo.
Tick off the cases of juxtapositional compounds:
a) hooneymooner;
b) do-gooder;
c) heartache;
d) electromotive.
Tick off the cases of metonymic epithets: a) the inky
water; b) an apple-cheeked girl; c) clever fingers;
d) pencil-thin legs.
Tick off the cases of professionalisms: a) splosh;
b) anchors; c) to rag; d) bird.
Tick off the cases of mixed clipping: a) tec (detective);
b) vegs (vegetables); c) Liz (Elisabeth); d) Nick
Tick off the cases of apheresis (initial clipping):
a) ammo (ammunition); b) flu (influenza); c) drome
(airdrome); d) Fred (Alfred).
Tick off the cases of a free morpheme: a) darken;
b) half-baked; c) childhood; d) enlarge.
Tick off the cases of bound morphemes: a) adrift;
b) poetic; c) boy; d) chairman.
Tick off the cases of semi-bound morphemes: a) wellknown; b) resist; c) babylike; d) himself.
Tick off the cases of compound abbreviations:
a) G.B.S.; b) V-day; c) Mr.; d) pp.
Tick off the cases of graphic abbreviations: a) usu.;
b) SALT; c) USA; d) hi-fi.
Tick off the cases of metaphoric epithets: a) a sullen
sky; b) threatening eyes; c) a lemon moon; d) a sausage
Tick off the cases of verbal phraseological units: a) a
bull in a china shop; b) as busy as a bee; c) like a shot;
d) to take the bull by the horns.
Tick off the cases of substantive phraseological units:
a) fair and square; b) as the crow flies; c) the apple of
discord; d) a grass widow.
Tick off the cases of adjectival phraseological units:
a) as dead as a door nail; b) to lose one’s head; c) high
and dry; d) good heavens!
Tick off the cases of denizens (completely assimilated
borrowings): a) sherbet; b) foyer; c) eureka; d) husband.
Tick off the cases of aliens (partially assimilated
borrowings): a) hrivna; b) ad hoc; c) memoir; d) face.
Tick off the cases of apocope (final clipping): a) van
(caravan); b) fancy (fantasy); c) prefab (prefabricated);
d) stach (moustache).
Tick off the cases of slang: a) soaked; b) boy; c) beans;
d) book.
Tick off the cases of denizens: a) street; b) index;
c) eureka; d) call.
Tick off the cases of aliens: a) face; b) sherbet;
c) memoir; d) table.
Tick off the cases of barbarisms: a) boulevard;
b) eureka; c) toreador; d) ciao
Tick off the cases of translation-loans: a) countryhouse; b) thing-in-itself; c) the moment of truth; d) the
leg of the table.
Tick off the cases of vulgarisms: a) attic; b) to leg; c) to
room; d) damn.
Tick off the cases of pseudo-international words:
a) aspirant; b) banana; c) tennis; d) mathematics.
Tick off the cases of a free morpheme: a) development;
b) half-done; c) friendship; d) enlarge.
Tick off the cases of bound morphemes: a) freedom;
b) after-thought; c) resist; d) chairman.
Tick off the cases of semi-bound morphemes: a) halffrozen; b) receive; c) babylike; d) himself.
Tick off the cases of juxtapositional compounds: a) Vday; b) salesgirl; c) blacklist; d) know-all.
Tick off the cases of morphological compounds:
a) statesman; b) up-to-date; c) deep-blue; d) huntingknife.
Tick off the cases of syntactic compounds: a) greygreen; b) go-between; c) speedometer; d) forget-me-not.
Tick off the cases of cant: a) to grab; b) anchors;
c) book; d) to rap.
Tick off the cases of ablaut compounds: a) nambypamby; b) tip-top; c) blah-blah; d) ping-pong.
Tick off the cases of rhyme compounds: a) sing song;
b) chit-chat; c) helter-skelter; d) tip-top.
Tick off the cases of apocope: a) mag (magazine);
b) story (history); c) prefab (prefabricated); d) stach
Tick off the cases of syncope: a) doc (doctor); b) specs
(spectacles); c) fancy (fantasy); d) plane (aeroplane).
Tick off the cases of apheresis: a) Fred (Alfred);
b) fridge (refrigerator); c) unkie (uncle); d) drome
Tick off the cases of acronyms: a) SALT; b) STEM
c) F.D.R.; d) GB.
Tick off the cases of alphabetic abbreviations: a) UNO;
b) NATO; c) B.B. d) FBI.
Tick off the cases of compound abbreviations: a) Ldriver; b) A-bomb; c) Hi-Fi; d) usu.
Tick off the cases of graphic abbreviations: a) pp.
(pages); b) Capt (captain); c) sci-fic (science-fiction);
d) Interpol (International police).
Tick off the cases of onomatopoeia: a) babble; b) chirp;
c) buzz; d) squeak.
Tick off the cases of semantic diffusion: a) a face; b) a
bee; c) to take; d) thing.
Tick off the cases of jargonisms: a) garment; b) bird;
c) dad; d) beans.
Tick off the cases of professionalisms: a) nuke;
b) bloody; c) to leg; d) spiv.
Tick off the cases of substantive phraseological units:
a) a drop in the bucket; b) like a shot; c) by hook or by
crook; d) high and mighty.
Tick off the cases of half-unities: a) red tape; b) small
talk; c) to bell the cat; d) my eye!
Tick off the cases of half-fusions: a) to buy smth. for a
song; b) to work double tides; c) to play second fiddle;
d) to talk turkey.
Tick off the cases of unities: a) half seas over; b) from
hand to mouth; c) a snake in the grass; d) a tall atory.
Tick off the cases of fusions: a) to pull smb.’s leg; b) to
bell the cat; c) to rain cats and dogs; d) to take into
Tick off the cases of moderators: a) extremely;
b) faintly; c) kind of; d) a bit.
Tick off the cases of intensifiers: a) hardly; b) a little;
c) very; d) too.
Tick off the cases of mixed clipping: a) Dora
(Theodora); b) vegs (vegetables); c) Liz (Elisabeth);
d) Nick (Nickolas).
Tick off the cases of apheresis: a) Tony (Antony); b) flu
(influenza); c) drome (airdrome); d) Phil (Philip).
Tick off the cases of compound abbreviations:
a) A.W.A.S.; b) X-rays; c) AIDS.; d) pp.
Tick off the cases of graphic abbreviations: a) IQ;
b) STEM; c) govt.; d) Hi-Fi.
Tick off the cases of denizens: a) table; b) shock;
c) caftan; d) husband.
Tick off the cases of aliens: a) sample; b) crisis; c) city;
d) index.
Tick off the cases of translation-loans: a) mother-inlaw; b) by heart; c) Masterpiece; d) moustache.
Tick off the cases of pseudo-international words:
a) conductor; b) impulse; c) doctor; d) aeroplane.
Tick off the cases of derivational compounds:
a) blacklist; b) childhood; c) strong-willed; d) salesgirl.
Tick off the cases of derived words: a) poorly; b) tossup; c) exceed; d) combo.
Tick off the cases of phrasal verbs: a) put down; b) give
in; c) jump above; c) fall in love.
Tick off he cases of conversion: a) to address; b) to
phone; c) to love; d) to work.
Tick off the cases of morphological compounds:
a) bluebell; b) looking-glass; c) sunlight; d) barometer.
Tick off the cases of ablaut compounds: a) pooh-pooh;
b) namby-pamby; c) buddy-buddy; d) riff-raff.
Tick off the cases of rhyme compounds: a) silly-billy;
b) zigzag; c) molly-dolly; d) tip-top.
Tick off the cases of the extension of meaning:
a) voyage; b) girl; c) barn; d) deer.
Tick off the cases of bound morphemes: a) untie;
b) acceptable; c) old-maidish; d) himself.
Tick off the cases of semi-bound morphemes: a) halfdone; b) power; c) demonstration; d) herself.
Tick off the cases of a free morpheme: a) development;
b) half-baked; c) friendship; d) enlarge.
Tick off the cases of juxtapositional compounds:
a) snow-capped;
b) jet-black;
c) lexicological;
d) womanishness.
Tick off the cases of morphological compounds: a) Uturn; b) electromotive; c) looking-glass; d) stay-athome.
Tick off the cases of syntactic compounds: a) sunlight;
b) late-at-night; c) gasometer; d) shoe-maker
Tick off the cases of ablaut compounds: a) singsong;
b) highty-flighty; c) buddy-buddy; d) willy-nilly.
Tick off the cases of rhyme compounds: a) zigzag;
b) molly-dolly; c) wee-wee; d) powwow.
Tick off the cases of apocope: a) dad (daddy); b) bike
(motorbike); c) binocs (binoculars); d) Phil (Philip).
Tick off the cases of syncope: a) lab (laboratory);
b) specs (spectacles); c) vac (vacation); d) craft
Tick off the cases of apheresis: a) plane (airplane);
b) van (caravan); c) vegs (vegetables); d) ammo
Tick off the cases of acronyms: a) CCTV; b) ID;
c) STEM; d) M.O.
Tick off the cases of alphabetic abbreviations: a) TUC;
b) NATO; c) PBS; d) G.B.S.
Tick off the cases of compound abbreviations: a) usu;
b) B-plans; c) ATM; d) IBM
Tick off the cases of graphic abbreviations: a) m. (mile);
b) PTA; c) ltd.; d) NYPD .
Tick off the cases of onomatopoeia: a) gesticulate;
b) sneeze; c) applause; d) hiss.
Tick off the cases of semantic diffusion: a) stuff;
b) flower; c) to run; d) orange.
Tick off the cases of vulgarisms: a) book; b) goddam;
c) to grab; d) grass.
Tick off the cases of cant: a) to leg; b) beans; c) splosh;
d) sausers.
Tick off the cases of slang: a) to rag; b) bird;
c) identikit; d) Hi-Fi.
Tick off the cases of professionalisms: a) nuke; b) spiv;
c) kite; d) bastard.
Tick off the cases of aliens: a) rajah; b) indices;
c) propos; d) call.
Tick off the cases of barbarisms: a) noblesse; b) caftan;
c) chef-d'ocuvre; d) table
Tick off the cases of denizens: a) hrivna; b) husband;
c) cup; d) piazza.
Tick off the cases of international words: a) aspirant;
b) sport; c) conductor; d) personal.
Tick off the cases of denizens: a) kidney; b) husband;
c) karate; d) restaurant.
Tick off the cases of aliens: a) kimono; b) stadium;
c) memoir; d) cigar.
Tick off the cases of barbarisms: a) polka; b) alley;
c) d’art; d) etcetera
Tick off the cases of translation-loans: a) champion;
b) five year plan; c) forget-me-not; d) the leg of the
Tick off the cases of pseudo-international words:
a) replica; b) fabric; c) character; d) pamphlet.
Tick off the cases of juxtapositional compounds:
a) waterproof; b) yellow-necked; c) matter-of-factness;
d) seaman.
Tick off the cases of morphological compounds:
a) saleswoman;
b) late-at-night;
c) tight-wrested;
d) mud-splashed.
Tick off the cases of syntactic compounds: a) selfpossessed; b) rough-cut; c) half-eaten; d) crosswise.
Tick off the cases of ablaut compounds: a) murmur;
b) knick-knacks; c) criss-crossed; d) pooh-pooh.
Tick off the cases of rhyme compounds:
a) cowsiewowsie;
b) riff-raff;
c) hokey-pokey;
d) molly-dolly.
Tick off the cases of apocope: a) hols (holidays); b) Al
(albert); c) Tony (Antony); d) pop (popular).
Tick off the cases of syncope: a) fancy (fantasy);
b) vegs (vegetables); c) cab (cabriolet); d) dad (daddy).
Tick off the cases of apheresis: a) gas (gasoline); b) van
(caravan); c) exam (examination); d) craft (aircraft).
Tick off the cases of blending: a) slanguage;
b) Eurovision c) handwrite; d) sunbathe.
Tick off the cases of Latin abbreviations: a) ltd.; b) cf.;
c) ft.; d) a.m.
Tick off the cases of metaphoric epithets: a) a sullen
sky; b) threatening eyes; c) a lemon moon; d) a sausage
Tick off the cases of verbal phraseological units: a) a
bull in a china shop; b) as busy as a bee; c) like a shot;
d) to take the bull by the horns.
Tick off the cases of substantive phraseological units:
a) fair and square; b) as the crow flies; c) the apple of
discord; d) a grass widow.
Tick off the cases of adjectival phraseological units:
a) as dead as a door nail; b) to lose one’s head; c) high
and dry; d) good heavens!
Tick off the cases of metaphoric epithets: a) a sullen
sky; b) threatening eyes; c) a lemon moon; d) a sausage
Tick off the cases of syncope (medial clipping) :
a) fancy (fantasy); b) specs (spectacles); c) doc (doctor);
d) plane (aeroplane).
Tick off the cases of acronyms: a) NATO; b) FBI; c) Ldriver; d) e. g.
Tick off the cases of phrasal nouns: a) a breakdown;
b) pile-up; c) timetable; d) blackboard.
Tick off the cases of phrasal verbs: a) pick apart; b) fall
behind; c) jump high; c) fall flat.
Tick off the cases of conversion: a) to begin; b) to
telephone; c) to love; d) to write.
Tick off the cases of ideographic synonyms: a) fast –
rapid; b) compounding –composition; c) to begin – to
commence; d) to shine – to gleam.
Tick off the cases of absolute synonyms: a) motherlandfatherland; b) word-building – word-formation; c) to
start – to initiate; d) to glitter – to glimmer.
Tick off the cases of homonyms proper: a) plane –
plain; b) lead – lead; c) row – row; d) bark – bark
Tick off the cases of homographs: a) arms – alms;
b) sewer – sewer; c) scent – cent; d) wind – wind.
Tick off the cases of lexical homonyms: a) light – light;
b) weather – whether; c) tear – tear; d) piece – peace.
Tick off the cases of root antonyms: a) hopeful –
hopeless; b) to start – to finish; c) up – down; d) happy
– unhappy.
Tick off the cases of complementary antonyms: a) off –
on; b) come – go; c) young – old; d) early – late.
Tick off the cases of relational antonyms: a) dead –
alive; b) day – night; c) husband – wife; d) teach –
Tick off the cases of the connotation of duration:
a) alone – single – lonely; b) to stare – to gaze – to
glance; c) to like – to admire – to love; d) to shudder –
to tremble.
Tick off the cases of moderators: a) really; b) a bit;
c) somewhat; d) even.
Tick off the cases of intensifiers: a) too; b) very;
c) almost; d) less.
Tick off the cases of limiters: a) a lot; b) quite;
c) hardly; d) all too.
Tick off the cases of primary interjections: a) bravo;
b) so; c) well; d) holla-ho.
Tick off the cases of secondary interjections: a) pooh;
b) gosh; c) okay; d) eh.
Tick off the cases of fusions: a) to rain cats and dogs;
b) small talk; c) a snake in the grass; d) cried for the
Tick off the cases of half-fusions: a) to kick the bucket;
b) to get blood out of a stone; c) to make faces; d) to
buy smth. for a song.
Tick off the cases of unities: a) to play second fiddle;
b) out of sight; c) Dutch courage; d) to bell the cat.
Tick off the cases of half-unities: a) to make head or
tail.; b) a tall story; c) husband’s tea; d) to make sure.
Tick off the cases of phraseological collocations: a) to
pull smd’s leg; b) red tape; c) to take into account; d) to
be sure.
Tick off the cases of phraseological expressions: a) to
work double tides; b) black frost; c) to make friends;
d) no pains – no gains.
Tick off the cases of verbal phraseological units: a) as
busy as a bee; b) to drop a brick; c) in a trice; d) to sit
Tick off the cases of substantive phraseological units:
a) calf love; b) to take a fancy; c) high and dry; d) like a
Tick off the cases of adjectival phraseological units:
a) brown study; b) as large as life; c) by a long chalk;
d) on the stoke of.
` Tick off the cases of adverbial phraseological units:
a) with a bump; b) a grass widow; c) in cold bloom;
d) my eye!.
Tick off the cases of interjectional phraseological units:
a) high and mighty; b) good heavens!; c) from head to
foot; d) sakes alive!
Tick off the cases of compound words proper: a) trainsick; b) realize; c) room; d) to job-hunt.
Tick off the cases of compound-shortened words:
a) singer-songwriter; b) motocross; c) hydro-skimmer;
d) V-day.
Tick off the cases of words with noun-forming suffixes:
a) employee; b) friendship; c) glimmer; d) useless.
Tick off the cases of words with numeral-forming
suffixes: a) likewise; b) coldly; c) seventh; d) cloudy.
Tick off the cases of final clipping: a) doc (doctor);
b) tec (detective); c) mag (magazine); d) van (caravan).
Tick off the cases of mixed clipping: a) phone
(telephone); b) Nick (Nickolas); c) fancy (fantasy);
d) flu (influenza).
Tick off the cases of alphabetic abbreviations: a) B. B.
(Brigitte Bardot); b) L-driver; c) USA; d) Mr.
Tick off the cases of latin abbreviations: a) ltd (limited);
b) i. e. (that is); c) BBC; d) NATO.
Tick off the cases of free morphemes: a) friendly;
b) himself; c) depart; d) resist.
Tick off the cases of acronyms: a) MP; b) A-bomb;
c) UNO; d) Interpol.
Tick off the cases of bound morphemes: a) greatly;
b) well-known; c) dishonest; d) chairman.
Tick off the cases of semi-bound morphemes: a) poetic;
b) misprint; c) half-backed; d) friendship.
Tick off the cases of morphological compounds:
a) gasometer; b) highway; c) classroom; d) blackboard.
Tick off the cases of intensifiers: a) faintly;
b) extremely; c) rather; d) a little.
Tick off the cases of limiters: a) highly; b) enough;
c) kind of; d) a bit.
Tick off the cases of moderators: a) scarcely;
b) reasonably; c) half; d) utterly.
Tick off the cases of verbal phraseological unities:
a) my eye!; b) to take the bull by the horns; c) high and
mighty; d) fair and square.
Tick off the cases of half-unities: a) black frost; b) a tall
story; c) small talk; d) ways and means.
Tick off the cases of phraseological collocations:
a) brevity is the soul of wit; b) to talk turkey; c) no and
then; d) to bell the cat.
Tick off the cases of phraseological expressions: a) a
white elephant; b) still water runs deep; c) to make a
mountain out of a molehill; d) made up ones mind.
Tick off the cases of barbarisms: a) hearken (“hear”);
b) bon mot; c) nigh (“near”); d) ad libitum.
Tick off the cases of archaisms: a) hark (“listen”) ;
b) entre nous; c) behold (“see”); d) visor.
Tick off the cases of poetic words: a) woe (“sorrow”);
b) qui pro quo; c) fletcher; d) table d’hote.
` Tick off the cases of neologisms: a) oft (“often”);
b) teledish; c) magalog; d) gore (“blood”).
Tick off the cases of vulgarisms: a) smash-up;
b) goddam; c) splosh; d) Hi-Fi.
Tick off the cases of splinters: a) moonscape;
b) Moonquake; c) afterthought; d) sister-in-law.
Tick off the cases of free morphemes: a) reservation;
b) overreach; c) brinkmanship; d) to computerize.
Tick off the cases of bound morphemes:
a) nourishment;
b) completenik;
c) self-criticism;
d) childishness.
Tick off the cases of semi-bound morphemes: a) maxisculpture;
b) snowmobile;
c) cheeseburger;
d) readership.
Tick off the cases of idiomatic compounds:
a) ghostwrite; b) skinhead; c) airbus; d) chatter-box.
Tick off the cases of non-idiomatic compounds:
a) bloodtransfuse; b) brain-drain; c) astrodynamics;
d) green-house.
Tick off the cases of neutral compounds:
a) windowshop; b) astrospace; c) here-and-now; d) jobhunt.
Tick off the cases of morphological compounds: a) freefor-all; b) motocross; c) handicraft; d) Eurodollar.
Tick off the cases of syntactical compounds: a) do-ordie; b) train-sick; c) hydro-skimmer; d) go-go.
10. Tick off the cases of derivational compounds: a) eggshell;
b) ear-minded; c) tourmobile; d) knee-deep.
11. Tick off the cases of coordinative compounds: a) secretarystenographer; b) fifty-fifty; c) kill-joy; d) nuclear-free.
Tick off the cases of subordinative compounds:
a) honey-sweet;
b) misprint;
c) half-backed;
d) friendship.
Tick off the cases of morphological compounds:
a) gasometer; b) highway; c) classroom; d) blackboard.
Tick off the cases of intensifiers: a) faintly;
b) extremely; c) rather; d) a little.
Tick off the cases of limiters: a) highly; b) enough;
c) kind of; d) a bit.
Tick off the cases of moderators: a) scarcely;
b) reasonably; c) half; d) utterly.
Tick off the cases of verbal phraseological unities:
a) my eye!; b) to take the bull by the horns; c) high and
mighty; d) fair and square.
Tick off the cases of half-unities: a) black frost; b) a tall
story; c) small talk; d) ways and means.
Tick off the cases of phraseological collocations:
a) brevity is the soul of wit; b) to talk turkey; c) no and
then; d) to bell the cat.
Tick off the cases of phraseological expressions: a) a
white elephant; b) still water runs deep; c) to make a
mountain out of a molehill; d) made up ones mind.
Tick off the cases of barbarisms: a) hearken (“hear”);
b) bon mot; c) nigh (“near”); d) ad libitum.
Tick off the cases of archaisms: a) hark (“listen”);
b) entre nous; c) behold (“see”); d) visor.
Tick off the cases of poetic words: a) woe (“sorrow”);
b) qui pro quo; c) fletcher; d) table d’hote.
` Tick off the cases of neologisms: a) oft (“often”);
b) teledish; c) magalog; d) gore (“blood”).
Tick off the cases of vulgarisms: a) smash-up;
b) goddam; c) splosh; d) Hi-Fi.
Tick off the cases of bound morpheme: a) rediness;
b) workable; c) half-done d) well-known;
Tick off the cases of allomorphs: a) activise;
b) displease; c) impossible; d) irregular.
Tick off the cases of derived words: a) classroom;
b) hand; c) joyful; d) snow-white.
Tick off the cases of compounds: a) retell; b) forget-menot; c) enlarge; d) subdivision.
Tick off the cases of reduplicated compounds: a) tootoo; b) lie-in; c) rope-ripe; d) fingerprint.
Tick off the cases of noun-forming suffixes:
a) government; b) twofold; c) tiresome; d) northwards.
Tick off the cases of productive suffixes: a) dressy;
b) shorten; c) childhood; d) realize.
Tick off the cases of prefixes of negative meaning:
a) disconnect; b) nonformals; c) unfree; d) decolonize.
Tick off the cases of Greek prefixes: a) hyper-; b) over-;
c) de-; d) re-.
Tick off the cases of suffixes that express smallness:
a) gangster; b) auntie; c) manikin; d) booklet.
Tick off the cases of conversion: a) to cook; b) to comb;
c) to beg; d) to finger-print.
Tick off the cases of intensifiers: a) rather; b) quite;
c) extremely; d) least.
Tick off the cases of limiters: a) scarcely; b) almost;
c) mildly; d) slightly.
Tick off the cases of moderators: a) utterly; b) kind of;
c) ever; d) a bit.
Tick off the cases of the Internet abbreviations:
a) ASAP; b) IMO; c) NATO; d) UNO.
Tick off the cases of syncope: a) mag (magazine);
b) fridge (refrigerator); c) specs (spectacles); d) tec
Tick off the cases of apheresis: a) phone (telephone);
b) Nick (Nickolas); c) flue (influenza); d) maths
Tick off the cases of consonant-interchange: a) food –
to feed; b) to speak – speech; c) blood – to bleed; d) to
sit – to set.
Tick off the cases of vowel-interchange: a) defence – to
defend; b) offence – to offend; c) importance –
important; d) to rise – to raise.
Tick off the cases of nouns borrowed from Latin and
Greek: a) sherbet; b) toreador; c) crisis; d) foyer.
Tick off the cases of phraseological fusion: a) cried for
the moon; b) make a sensation; c) a tall story; d) two
heads are better than one.
Tick off the cases of phraseological expressions: a) to
do some cooking; b) take my temperature; c) bird in
hand is worth two in the bush; d) speaking smb’s mind.
Tick off the cases of verbal phraseological units: a) to
sit pretty; b) cat-and-dog life; c) calf love; d) like a
Tick off the cases of adverbial phraseological units:
a) cool as a cucumber; b) as large as life; c) with a
bump; d) in cold blood.
Tick off the cases of prepositional phraseological units:
a) as drunk as an owl; b) in the course of; c) spick and
span; d) brand new.
Tick off the cases of non-idiomatic compounds:
a) chatter-box; b) green-house; c) airbus; d) skinhead.
Tick off the cases of idiomatic compounds: a) free-forall; b) middle-of-the-road; c) brain-drain; d) hard-cover.
Tick off the cases of morphological compounds: a) door-die; b) astrospace; c) Eurodollar; d) knee-deep.
Tick off the cases of syntactic compounds: a) here-andnow; b) honey-sweet; c) up-and-doing; d) nuclear-free.
Tick off the cases of neutral compounds: a) to
b) to
c) off-the-record;
d) motocross.
Tick off the cases of subordinative compounds: a) crisscross; b) breast-high; c) no-no; d) spring-fresh.
Tick off the cases of coordinative compounds: a) fiftyfifty; b) woman-doctor; c) top-heavy; d) love-sick.
Tick off the cases of “stone wall” combinations: a) outof-the-way villages; b) a crew member; c) spring
flowers; d) volley-ball.
Tick off the cases of graphic abbreviations: a) Mon
(Monday); b) capt. (captain); c) l.p. (long-playing);
d) fan (fanatic).
Tick off the cases of acronyms: a) CLASS; b) Three –
Ds; c) USA; d) B.A.
Tick off the cases of compound abbreviations:
a) AIDSophobia; b) UNO; c) Interpol; d) F2F.
Tick off the cases of apocope: a) expo (exposition);
b) fax( facsimile); c) chute (parachute); d) fanzine (fan
Tick off the cases of blends: a) trank (tranquilizer);
b) copter (helicopter); c) dramedy (drama comedy);
d) Medicare (medical care).
Tick off the cases of metonymy: a) vandals; b) a Don
Juan; c) sandwich; d) roentgen.
Tick off the cases of metaphor: a) bottleneck; b) the
White House; c) an iron; d) head of an army.
Tick off the cases of fusions: a) old salt; b) in a big
way; c) corridors of power; d) on Shank’s mare.
Tick off the cases of unities: a) the winds of change;
b) to play the first fiddle; c) at sixes and sevens; d) to
have butterflies in the stomach.
Tick off the cases of collocations: a) to have green
fingers; b) in brown study; c) cash and carry; d) red
Tick off the cases of completely assimilated
borrowings: a) sport; b) street; c) zero; d) correct.
Tick off the cases of partly assimilated borrowings:
a) voice; b) sky; c) start; d) gate.
Tick off the cases of French borrowings: a) bank;
b) brochure; c) cuisine; d) granite.
Tick off the cases of Italian borrowings: a) autostrada;
b) fascist; c) ananas; d) embargo.
Tick off the cases of a polysemantic word: a) synonym’
b) blanket; c) thing; d) table.
Tick off the cases of neologisms: a) hipster; b) sling
bag; c) trousers; d) skates.
Tick off the cases of archaisms: a) perchance; b) ghetto;
c) telemarketing; d) darksome.
Tick off the cases of syntactic compounds: a) jobhopper; b) baby-moons; c) wait-and-see; d) middle-ofthe-roaders.
Tick off the cases of noun-forming suffixes:
a) breathable; b) officialdom; c) tableward d) sixteen.
Tick off the cases of neutral compounds: a) sportsman;
b) here-and-now; c) ball-point; d) to windowshop.
Tick off the cases of shortened compounds: a) earminded; b) job-hunt; c) eggshell-thin; d) Eurodollar.
Tick off the cases of derivational compounds:
a) intervision;
b) hydro-skimmer;
c) flower-bed;
d) blue-eyed.
Tick off the cases of syncope: a) mart (market); b) intro
c) combo
d) van
Tick off the cases of absolute antonyms: a) successful –
unsuccessful; b) like – dislike; c) late – early; d) to buy
- to sell.
Tick off the cases of derivational antonyms: a) to
disappoint – to appoint; b) up – down; c) selfless –
selfish; d) active – inactive.
Tick off the cases of stylistic synonyms: a) homeland –
motherland; b) exam – examination; c) to begin – to
commence; d) to perspire – to sweat.
Tick off the cases of absolute synonyms: a) stool –
chair; b) city – town; c) to moan – to groan; d) to stare –
to glance.
Tick off the cases of polysemantic words: a) blanket;
b) bronchites; c) both; d) face.
Tick off the cases of monosemantic words: a) this;
b) his; c) board; d) table.
Tick off the cases of Spanish borrowings: a) graffitto;
b) apricot; c) tango; d) diletante.
Tick off the cases of Italian borrowings: a) fascist;
b) tobbaco: c) quartet; d) guitar.
Tick off the cases of French borrowings: a) barrister;
b) topaz; c) bronze; d) gazette.
Tick off the cases of borrowings non-assimilated
semantically: a) kvass; b) taiga; c) zero; d) skate.
Tick off the cases of verb phraseologisms: a) loose as a
goose; b) to nose out; c) to break the log-jam; d) Catch
Tick off the cases of adverb phraseologisms: a) like a
dream; b) in the soup; c) redbrick university; d) dull as
Tick off the cases of collocations: a) old salt; b) at sixes
and sevens; c) cash and carry; d) in a big way.
Tick off the cases of unities: a) to play the first fiddle;
b) on Shank’s mare; c) to read between the lines; d) to
speak BBC.
Tick off the cases of graphical abbreviations: a) Aug
(August); b) B.A. (Bachelor of Arts); c) SALT
(Strategic Arms Limitation Talks); d) IFR (Instrument
Flight Rules)
Tick off the cases of apocope: a) expo (exposition);
b) chute (parachute); c) van (avanguard); d) intro
Tick off the cases of apheresis: a) Afro (African);
b) varsity (university); c) copter (helicopter); d) tec
Tick off the cases of «stone wall» combinations:
a) evening paper; b) price rise; c) language teacher;
d) light suitcase.
Tick off the cases of subordinative compounds: a) goldrich; b) criss-cross; c) spring-fresh; d) nuclear-free.
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